Inside the online food delivery market in Northern Nigeria

While phone calls remain the go-to method for online food delivery in Northern Nigeria, a growing appetite exists for a more streamlined approach. Vendors and users alike are craving an aggregator platform similar to the ones in the South.

Inside the online food delivery market in Northern Nigeria
Online food delivery in Northern Nigeria. 🎨: Kenny Akinsola/

In March, Marvis Sati*, a Lagos resident made a holiday visit to Jos, a city in northcentral Nigeria. One afternoon, she was hungry and decided to order lunch.

Unlike Lagos, there are no on-demand food delivery apps in Jos. Determined to satisfy her craving, Sati turned to Instagram, hoping to connect with a local vendor.

Unfortunately, the experience wasn't seamless. The vendor Sati contacted took a long time to respond, and to her disappointment, the delivered meal was different from what she ordered.

Patience Patrick, founder of StreetChow, an online kitchen in Jos, sheds light on this challenge. "We often rely on independent dispatch riders," she told "The problem arises when meals aren't properly labelled. If a rider carries orders from multiple vendors at once, things can get mixed up."

It's a similar story in Jalingo, a city in northeast Nigeria. "The kitchens have numbers you can call, you just make payment and give the address," said one Jalingo resident who orders food via the vendors or local restaurants.

Residents in Kaduna and Makurdi who spoke to echoed these challenges; a lack of an established food delivery infrastructure.

The Nigerian online food delivery market is projected to reach $2.83 billion by 2024. Nigerians dedicate 59% of their monthly spending to food, ranking 105th out of 105 countries surveyed by Picodi, a global e-commerce company. This means Nigerians spend a larger share of their income on food compared to other major African economies like Kenya (56.1%), Egypt (37.6%), and South Africa (21.3%).

This high spending on food creates a fertile ground for innovation. One key trend is the rise of aggregator platforms like Chowdeck and Foodcourt, according to Statista. These platforms allow customers to order from multiple restaurants through a single app, increasing convenience and variety for consumers while expanding the customer base for restaurants.

The success of these platforms is evident in the booming user base. Femi Aluko, co-founder of Chowdeck, told that some vendors on their platform saw a massive surge in online deliveries, jumping from handling 13 orders daily to nearly 500 on Chowdeck alone.

Recognising this potential, a tech entrepreneur, Johnpaul Nwobodo set out to launch Trofira in 2022. This platform aimed to become the go-to food delivery solution for the northern region, offering a much-needed alternative to the current system of independent vendors and Instagram ordering. However, the launch has been on hold.

"Trofira had a positive perception from both vendors and users," Nwobodo explained. "The main challenge arose with restaurants that have established delivery staff. They initially perceived Trofira as a threat, taking away their jobs and profits."

Nwobodo's experience underscores the reality that although the concept of food delivery is well-established in the northern regions, it has primarily been confined to traditional methods such as phone calls and WhatsApp messaging. This observation suggests an untapped opportunity to introduce more modern and streamlined food delivery platforms, leveraging technology to enhance convenience and efficiency for both consumers and businesses in these areas.

"I will gladly onboard on any aggregator with a good profit-sharing deal that will provide me with a delivery management system," Patrick said. 

Related Article: Y Combinator backed six African food delivery startups in two years

  • *Marvis Sati is a pseudonym we have used at the source’s request

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