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How To Make & Build a Plantain Chips Business in Nigeria

How to start a plantain chips business in Nigeria

The aim of this guide is to share handy tips and resources for that individual that has an interest in Plantain Processing in Nigeria or elsewhere whether as a hobby or as an investment or business opportunity. This guide gives all the answers to those seeking and asking the “how to,” “where to” and “why to” questions about plantain processing.

I have over 15 years’ experience in plantain farming and processing, and from my experience in farming, adding value to your crops or fruits makes agriculture a very profitable business. I am keen on sharing my knowledge and experience, hoping it will answer all your questions and with my knowledge, you can turn your interest in plantain processing to your own gold mine.

Side note: I help people invest their money in plantain plantations by helping them to acquire affordable land they will own forever by farming for them, harvesting their crops, and selling for them. Basically, people that farm with me are like CEOs that hire the smartest people to grow their business, and they never need to worry. If you want to learn more, click here

WHAT IS FOOD PROCESSING?

Food processing is the transformation of agricultural products into food. It is the action of performing a series of mechanical or chemical operations on food in order to change or preserve it. Food processing includes many forms of processing foods, from grinding grain to raw flour to home cooking to complex industrial methods used to make convenience foods.

This write up focuses on the transformation of plantains into plantain chips. Plantain chips are crunchy and favored snacks made with either ripe or unripe plantains. 

The consumption of plantain chips has risen tremendously in Nigeria in recent years because of the rapidly increasing urbanization and the great demand for easy and convenient foods by the non-farming urban populations. Besides being the staple for many people in more humid regions, plantain chips are a delicacy and favored snack for people even in other ecologies. A growing industry, plantain chips, is believed to be responsible for the high demand being experienced now in the country.

The main consumers of plantain chips are individuals and families, especially in urban and semi-urban areas. Besides, supermarkets, schools, hotels, restaurants, canteens, corporate establishments require plantain chips in significant quantities. 

The demand of the present market is met by the mix of branded and unbranded chips available in the Market. There are 60% of the population which is Brand Loyal. However, remaining 40% of the Un-branded Market can be attracted through heavy Advertisement Campaign.

The major challenges facing the industry are access to raw material, infrastructure and power. Non-availability of raw material and access to power hampers production.

PLANTAIN CHIPS INGREDIENTS

  • Ripe or unripe plantain
  • Vegetable Oil for frying
  • Salt to taste
  • Spice (Recipe)

I will take you through a step by step process of converting plantains into plantain chips so that you can get all the vital points.

PRODUCTION PROCESS

The production process for plantain chips is given below:

Step 1: Sorting or De-fingering of plantain

This involves inspection of plantain fingers to identify and remove unsuitable ones i.e. spoilt, low pulp, or immature pulps. The good ones are then staked in dozens and thereafter de-fingered from the bunch in each batch.

Step 2: Counting of Plantain fingers

The plantain fingers are counted in batches of 100 fingers. This is the first data to be captured for a thorough monitored process. 

Step 3: Washing and Peeling of Plantains

The plantains are washed in warm or cool water to remove dirt and to make the process of peeling easier. After washing, the plantain peels are removed manually using sharp knives or mechanically using specially designed machines to obtain the pulp. Average peeling time using manual method for a batch of 100 fingers is 35-45minutes.

Peeling of Plantains using manual method

Step 4: Weighing

The peeled plantains are properly weighed on the measuring scale in 100s (just as it was counted before peeling) to quantify the input of raw plantain. This is the second data to be captured.

Step 5: Slicing

The peeled plantains are sliced into 2mm – 3mm cylindrical slices depending on your thickness preference using a manual or electrical slicer. It takes about 32 to 40mins (using a manual slicer) for each batch (100 fingers) of the peeled plantains to be sliced.

Electrical Slicer
Manual Slicer

Note: The peeled plantains can also be sliced into different shapes depending on your target market and preference.

Step 6: Portioning of Sliced Plantain for Frying 

The sliced plantain is weighed into smaller portions depending on the size of your pot or deep fryer. An average of between 2kg – 4kg is sufficient for most pot or deep fryer sizes. This pre-measurement promotes even frying and colour. 

Side note: good content is everything. I cannot over reiterate it. Ensure you get your process right, work on various flavors and spices, and experiment until you are satisfied.

Step 7: Additives 

A pre-measured quantity of suitable additives such as salt and sweetener depending on your taste objective is added to the plantain portions and mixed thoroughly to potentiate the taste of the fried plantain. These additives serve as a preservative against microbial growth and also add flavor to the chips.

Step 8: Frying

The plantain slices are then fried into chips in hot vegetable oil at a given temperature and stirred continuously over a period of time about 20 – 30mins per batch to achieve adequate frying (without traces of undesirable browning) giving a brownish-yellow colour plantain-chips.

Remove the fried plantain chips from the pot into a sieve to de-oil naturally or using a de-oiling machine.

Deep Fryer  
Conventional Fryer

Step 9: Add post frying Condiments and Cool

The fried plantain is spiced immediately after frying and allowed to completely de-oil.   The chips are then transferred to a cooling station such as a flat stainless steel or plastic table to cool completely before packing. Adequate cooling prevents moisture condensation on the packaging material.

Sidenote: ensure you take the last data on weight after frying. It will be used to calculate your percentage derivative alongside input weight. An ideal percentage derivative should be 50%.

Weighing After Frying (Plantain chips)

Step 10: Packaging

This is essential for protection, preservation, and promotion.

The chips can be packed in clean plastic jars or printed cellophane packs or sachets depending on the packaging method you choose with reference to your target market. It is heat-sealed to retain the desirable crispiness of the chips throughout their shelf-life of about 6 months. It should be stored in a cool and dry place.

Side note:  good packaging is what will put all your hard work on good chips production on the radar. If you want your plantain chips to stand out amongst the competition, you want packaging and necessary product regulations such as NAFDAC, barcode, production dates, and expiry dates that will draw the consumer’s attention. If you need help with this, you can book our consultancy service.

Step 11: Marketing and Sales

After all your diligence and hard work, you want some profit or satisfaction from your labour. This is where you dot all your “Is” and cross all your “Ts”. And as they say, before you embark on a journey, know your destination.

It is important you know how you want to sell your plantain chips.

Step 12: Record Keeping

Record keeping is very essential in business management, however, many entrepreneurs relegate this task. This involves the documentation of your daily activities for future reference and analysis. The following records should be kept: production records, sales records, expense, bin card, financial transactions, etc. These records are valuable to determine the viability of the business and forecast the future for the business.

In conclusion, plantain chips business whether as a hobby or a business gives great pleasure, satisfaction, and returns when done correctly. The take away from this post is to acquire training and also, learn on the job, fix operational problems quickly, keep proper records, and allow your success to determine your growth.

I hope I’ve been able to answer most of your questions in this subject matter. If you have any questions, hit me up in the comment section or send an email to hello@farmright.co. Also, note that we have other materials that can guide you in starting your own businesses. We have business plans and training videos on the following ventures at a little fee 🙂

Want to order our plantain chips? Visit our food processing company, dambolsfoods.com

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