How to Start Plantain Chips Business in Nigeria

Plantain chips are a popular snack in Nigeria and are enjoyed by people of all ages across the country.

The plantain chips business in Nigeria is all about producing and selling snacks made from sliced and fried plantains.

The business typically involves sourcing high-quality plantains, slicing them into thin chips, frying them until crispy, seasoning them with various flavors, and packaging them for sale.

Plantain chips can be sold through various channels such as supermarkets, grocery stores, roadside vendors, and online platforms.

To start a plantain chips business in Nigeria or your country there are basic and mandatory steps you must acquit yourself with, which we shall be unfolding in this article.

1. Market Research:

Conduct thorough market research to understand the demand for plantain chips in your target market.

In case, you are confused who your target market are? Your potential target market in the plantain chip production business include:

  1. Consumers of Snack Foods: People who enjoy snacking on a regular basis and are looking for tasty and convenient snack options to satisfy their cravings. This demographic includes individuals of all ages, from children to adults.
  2. Students: Students, particularly those in schools, colleges, and universities, are a significant target market. They often seek affordable and portable snack options to consume during breaks or study sessions.
  3. Office Workers: Professionals and office workers looking for quick and convenient snacks to enjoy during work hours or as a mid-day snack. They may prefer healthier snack options like plantain chips as an alternative to traditional fried snacks.
  4. Households: Families and households looking for wholesome snack options to enjoy at home or on-the-go. Plantain chips is appealing to parents looking for healthier snack alternatives for their children.
  5. Health-conscious Consumers: Health-conscious individuals who are mindful of their dietary choices and prefer snacks that are perceived as healthier options. Positioning your plantain chips as a natural, gluten-free, and preservative-free snack will attract this demographic.
  6. Tourists and Travelers: Tourists visiting Nigeria and travelers passing through airports, bus stations, and tourist destinations are potential consumers of plantain chips. Offering convenient packaging sizes suitable for travel can appeal to this market segment.
  7. Specialty Stores and Markets: Targeting specialty stores, health food stores, gourmet markets, and upscale grocery stores catering to niche markets is another strategy. These consumers will be willing to pay a premium for high-quality, artisanal plantain chips.
  8. Events and Catering: Providing plantain chips for events, parties, weddings, and corporate gatherings is a lucrative market segment. Offering bulk packaging options and customizable flavors will cater to this market’s needs.

Now that you have identify who your target markets are, you should go further in your research by gaining insights into their preferences and purchasing behaviors regarding plantain chips.

And extend your research to cover competitors in the industry by understand their strengths, weaknesses, and market positioning. –Identify key competitors, their product offerings, pricing strategies, distribution channels, and marketing tactics.

This analysis/research will help you identify opportunities to differentiate your products in terms of packaging and pricing, and develop effective marketing strategies to gain a competitive advantage.

2. Funding:

The plantain chip business is not capital-intensive, which makes it easy and inexpensive to start. It can be started with as little as N20,000 Naira.

However, for those aiming to produce high-quality, well-branded plantain chips to target markets willing to pay a premium price, startup costs can go as high as N150,000 Naira.

You will be spending this capital on:

  • Equipment: Purchasing or leasing equipment needed for processing plantains, such as slicers, fryers, seasoning machines, and packaging equipment.
  • Raw Materials: Purchasing plantains, cooking oil, spices, and other ingredients required for making the plantain chips.
  • Packaging: Packaging materials such as bags, containers, labels, and seals.
  • Marketing: Budget for marketing and promotional activities to promote the brand and attract customers, including advertising, sampling, and online marketing (if you choose to broaden your customer reach).
  • Overhead Expenses: Overhead costs such as rent, utilities, salaries, insurance, and administrative expenses.
  • Contingency: It’s essential to set aside a portion of the capital for unforeseen expenses or emergencies that may arise during the startup phase or early stages of the business.

In a situation whereby you are struggling to personally fund your plantain chip production business, you can outsource funding from external bodies such as:

  1. Loans
  2. Investment from Family and Friends
  3. Government Grants and Programs aimed at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
  4. Crowdfunding
  5. Partnerships and Joint Ventures
  6. Angel Investors: Angel investors are individuals or groups who provide capital to startups in exchange for equity ownership or convertible debt.
  7. Venture Capitalists: Venture capitalists are professional investors who provide funding to startups in exchange for equity ownership.

3. Get Your License:

Due to the industry’s sensitivity, the plantain chips production business, being part of the food industry, requires obtaining licenses and permits as a mandatory step in starting this venture.

This is particularly crucial if the aim is to showcase products in venues like supermarkets, specialty stores, fast food restaurants, airports, and similar locations where premium prices can be commanded.

Here are the licenses and permits you must acquire to start a plantain chip production business in Nigeria:

By obtaining the required licenses and permits from regulatory authorities, you ensure that your plantain chips business operates legally and meets the necessary quality and safety standards set by regulatory agencies in Nigeria.

4. Recipe Development:

Based on your market research, you likely have an idea of the taste profile of your competitors’ plantain chip products.

It’s essential to sit down and develop your own distinctive, flavorful, and high-quality plantain chip products that will readily appeal to your target market, enticing them to choose your products over those of your competitors.

Before creating your unique, flavorful, and high-quality plantain chip products, it’s important to acquire basic knowledge of preparing plantain chip products.

Making plantain chips is a straightforward process that involves a few simple steps. Here’s a basic recipe for making homemade plantain chips:


  • Ripe plantains
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt (optional)
  • Other seasonings of your choice (optional)


  1. Select and Peel the Plantains: Choose ripe plantains that are yellow with some black spots, as they will be sweeter and easier to slice thinly. Using a knife, carefully peel the plantains and discard the skin. You can also choose to use unrip plantain for your chips.
  2. Slice the Plantains: Using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer, thinly slice the peeled plantains into uniform slices. You can slice them diagonally or straight, depending on your preference.
  3. Heat the Oil: In a deep frying pan or pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat until it reaches around 350°F (175°C). You can test if the oil is ready by dropping a small piece of plantain into the oil – it should sizzle immediately.
  4. Fry the Plantain Slices: Carefully add the plantain slices to the hot oil in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry them for 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown and crispy.
  5. Drain and Season: Once the plantain chips are golden brown and crispy, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil. If desired, sprinkle the hot chips with salt or other seasonings of your choice.
  6. Cool and Serve: Allow the plantain chips to cool completely before serving. Once cooled, they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.
  7. Optional Baking Method: Alternatively, you can bake the plantain chips for a healthier option. Simply preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C), arrange the sliced plantains on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for about 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until they are golden brown and crispy.
  8. Experiment with Seasonings: Feel free to experiment with different seasonings and flavorings for your plantain chips, such as chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, or a squeeze of lime juice for a tangy twist.

With these steps, you just made your homemade plantain chips as a delicious and crunchy snack!

It is recommended you make your plantain chip of high quality as that will give it a longer shelf life beyond the average one to three months that normal plantain chips last.

This high quality is determined by the method of production, packaging, storage conditions, and any preservatives used.

5. Production Setup:

Setting up a production facility for your plantain chips business involves several important steps to ensure efficient and hygienic operations:

  1. Acquire the necessary equipment for slicing, frying, and packaging plantain chips.
  2. Ensure that the production facility meets stringent hygiene standards to maintain the quality and safety of the plantain chips.
  3. Install adequate ventilation systems to remove excess heat and fumes generated during the frying process.
  4. Most importantly invest in high-quality equipment that can handle the demands of large-scale production to meet growing demand for your plantain chips.

When acquiring high-quality equipment, ensure you obtain all the necessary tools for the production process of your plantain chips.

Below is a list of the complete equipment/tools required for preparing your plantain chips:

  1. Washing and Peeling Machine: This machine is used to wash and peel the plantains efficiently, saving time and labor.
  2. Slicing Machine: A slicing machine is essential for slicing the peeled plantains into thin, uniform slices, ensuring consistency in the size and shape of the chips.
  3. Frying Equipment: You’ll need deep fryers or frying pans with heating elements for frying the sliced plantains. These can be gas-powered or electric fryers depending on your production scale.
  4. Oil Filter: An oil filter is used to remove impurities and maintain the quality of the frying oil, ensuring that the plantain chips have a clean and crisp texture.
  5. Seasoning and Flavoring Equipment: Equipment such as tumblers or seasoning drums are used to evenly coat the fried plantain chips with seasoning blends and flavors. This ensures consistent flavor distribution throughout the batch.
  6. Packaging Machine: Packaging machines are used to package the finished plantain chips into various packaging formats such as pouches, bags, or containers. These machines can include sealing, weighing, and labeling functionalities.
  7. Weighing Scale: Accurate weighing scales are necessary for measuring the precise quantities of plantains, seasonings, and packaging materials to maintain consistency in product quality and packaging.
  8. Heat Sealer: A heat sealer is used to seal the packaging of the plantain chips, ensuring product freshness and preventing air and moisture from entering the packaging.
  9. Storage and Cooling Equipment: Storage racks or shelves are required to store raw materials, finished products, and packaging materials. Additionally, cooling racks or trays may be used to cool the freshly fried plantain chips before packaging.
  10. Cleaning and Sanitization Equipment: Equipment such as sinks, hoses, and scrub brushes are essential for cleaning and sanitizing the production area, equipment, and utensils to maintain hygiene and food safety standards.

These are the essential equipment required for preparing plantain chips on a commercial scale.

6. Branding:

Create a strong brand identity for your plantain chips business. Design a distinctive logo, packaging labels, and brand messaging that communicates the quality, flavor, and uniqueness of your product.

When it comes to creating the perfect brand identity for your plantain chip business you must focus on these essential elements;

  • Brand Identity: logo, color scheme, typography, and overall design aesthetic
  • Packaging Design
  • Brand Messaging: Develop a brand message that highlights the quality, flavor, and uniqueness of your plantain chips while also addressing consumer needs and preferences.
  • Shelf Appeal: In a competitive retail environment, it’s essential to make your product stand out on the shelf.

But let it be known that consistent branding efforts will help build recognition and trust among consumers.

Focus on creating a cohesive brand experience across all touchpoints, from packaging to advertising to customer service.

Encourage repeat purchases and foster brand loyalty by consistently delivering on your brand promise and providing a positive customer experience.

7. Distribution and Marketing Strategy:

Focus on creating an efficient distribution network to reach your target consumers effectively. This involves establishing partnerships with various distribution channels such as distributors, retailers, supermarkets, and convenience stores.

By collaborating with these channels, you can ensure that your plantain chips are readily available to consumers in different locations, maximizing your market reach and accessibility.

When it comes to marketing your plantain chip products you have to utilize various marketing channels and tactics to reach your target audience effectively.

Some effective marketing strategies include:

  • Social Media Advertising: Leverage social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your plantain chips to a wider audience. Create engaging content, run targeted advertising campaigns, and interact with your followers to build brand awareness and drive sales.
  • Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with influencers and bloggers who have a significant following in your target market. Partnering with influencers helps increase brand visibility, credibility, and reach among their followers, leading to higher product adoption and sales.
  • Sampling Campaigns: Conduct sampling campaigns at various events, supermarkets, and public places to allow consumers to try your plantain chips firsthand. Sampling campaigns are an effective way to introduce your product to potential customers, gather feedback, and encourage trial purchases.
  • Promotions: Offer promotional deals, discounts, and special offers to incentivize consumers to purchase your plantain chips. Promotions such as buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) offers, bundle deals, and limited-time discounts help drive sales and create buzz around your product.

By developing a robust distribution strategy and implementing effective marketing tactics, you increase the visibility, accessibility, and demand for your plantain chips, ultimately driving the success of your business in the competitive snack market.

Challenges of Starting a Plantain Chip Business in Nigeria:

  1. Sourcing Quality Plantains: Securing consistent and high-quality sources of raw plantains is challenging due to variations in availability, seasonality, and fluctuating market prices.
  2. Equipment and Infrastructure: Acquiring and maintaining the necessary equipment for processing plantains into chips, such as slicing, frying, and packaging machinery, is costly. Additionally, ensuring reliable access to electricity for running equipment poses infrastructure challenges.
  3. Intense Competition: The plantain chip market in Nigeria is highly competitive, with numerous established brands and local producers already vying for market share. Standing out and building brand recognition amidst competition is daunting.
  4. Regulatory Compliance: Navigating the complex regulatory landscape and obtaining required licenses and permits from agencies like NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control) is time-consuming and bureaucratic.
  5. Supply Chain Management: Managing a reliable supply chain for raw materials, packaging, and other production inputs presents challenges due to logistical constraints, transportation issues, and potential disruptions.
  6. Marketing and Distribution: Developing effective marketing strategies to reach target customers and establishing distribution channels is challenging, especially for new entrants with limited resources and access to distribution networks.
  7. Product Shelf Life: Plantain chips have a limited shelf life, requiring careful management of inventory and distribution to prevent spoilage and waste, particularly in regions with erratic power supply and storage facilities.
  8. Financial Constraints: Securing adequate funding for startup and operational expenses, as well as managing cash flow amidst fluctuating costs of raw materials and production inputs, poses financial challenges for startups in the plantain chip business.
  9. Quality Control: Maintaining consistent quality standards in terms of taste, texture, and appearance of plantain chips is crucial for consumer satisfaction and brand reputation. Implementing effective quality control measures across production processes is challenging.
  10. Changing Consumer Preferences: Adapting to evolving consumer preferences, including demands for healthier snack options, sustainable packaging, and transparent ingredient sourcing, presents ongoing challenges for plantain chip businesses seeking to stay relevant in the market.


Final Thoughts on Starting a Plantain Chip Business

Success in the plantain chips business requires a focus on quality, hygiene, branding, and understanding consumer preferences.

Additionally, you need to maintain competitive pricing, and ensure efficient production and distribution processes to thrive in this competitive industry.

Concerning how long can plantain chips last

The shelf life of plantain chips varies depending on several factors, including the method of production, packaging, storage conditions, and any preservatives used.

On average, properly produced and packaged plantain chips can last anywhere from one to three months.

As mentioned earlier, when plantain chips are made with high-quality ingredients, fried to the optimal level of crispiness, and correctly packaged to seal them from moisture and air, they typically have an extended shelf life and retain their freshness.

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