Food is a big part of Nigerian culture and it varies from tribe to tribe. In fact, the yardstick of any Nigerian party is the quality and the quantity of food that is served there.
Sadly, not many of these foods can be taken as an everyday meal because of the amount of time and work that goes into preparing them.
But frankly speaking, “why can’t we cook a Nigerian food without so much stress?” Kashope Ladipo asks her audience at the TEDx Talk event.
A major reason she started her Omo Alata company, a convenience brand that helps with the processing and packaging of soups and spices.
“Our entrance products, the pepper mix is a blend of tomato, onions, and pepper and that’s the major ingredient in many Nigerian meals.”
Kashope started with that because of three major problems that come with Nigerian foods.
Most of our food is cooked from the scratch and the time and effort it takes are too much.
Secondly, there are no packaged Nigerian ingredients outside the country even though Nigerians make up a large percentage of people in diaspora.
Thirdly, our markets are dirty and so, the preparation of our foods doesn’t come in a hygienic way.
But Kasope wants to change the culture of going to the market and cooking from the scratch to having already cooked and packaged ingredients sold in stores and supermarkets.
“We are trying to shift to a new way but we are a very traditional people and changing traditions is very hard but if we want to share our food with other Africans and the rest of the world, we need to put it in a form that they will understand. We need to make it easy for everybody, so, we start from the basics and from there we evolve.”
Recalling the age where her grand-mother used to grind pepper with a stone to make soup, Kasope said that it is quite different now with pepper mix packaged in a bag.
“The possibilities are endless. We just have to encourage young Nigerians to go beyond the boundaries.”
Kasope dreams of a world where “palm wine is synonymous to Nigeria as tea is to the English. We want to have Dodo to Nigeria as Tacos is to Mexicans. We want to have garri & groundnuts to Nigeria as caviar & cracker is to the Russians.”