You can never go wrong with the food, right? In Zimbabwe that seems to be true. Food business presents perhaps the most even playing field for Zimbabweans who want to go into business. Not as heavily regulated like other businesses, the ability to start small, finding customers far and wide including the diaspora and allowing the business owner to develop and iterate at their own pace make food businesses a good idea for people looking to start new businesses. While the ideas listed here are not entirely new to the world they represent areas that have not been dominated or extensively explored in Zimbabwe.
Snacking is a big part of eating and what better way to get into this than with one of the most popular snack foods in the world? Popcorn is certainly something we can all relate to in its various forms. Experimenting with flavours around it could be a huge hit. Sweet, savoury, hot or a mix of these could all work. Finding your way around with popcorn won’t cost you too much either so you will get to experiment with ease until you find your working flavours.
Baby food is a large segment and there are many ways to enter it. The best opportunities are in fruit and vegetable puree which can be processed quite easily. The upside here is playing around with combinations that appeal to what is naturally available in abundance locally. You can also look at playing with indigenous or traditional flavours and find your big break there.
This is related to baby food of course in that baby food usually comes in the form of preserves. Ideas that preserve and process food are worth looking into. There are so many options here, perhaps too many. You can look at canning, purees, sauces, pickles, preserves, conserves, jams and jellies. We’ve explored some of these ideas before and you can have a look at them here.
Meal kits are a wave that I believe will catch on across the world. People know what they want to eat, as in meals. Sure you can buy individual ingredients but food waste, in a world that should not be wasting at all, is best avoided and meal kits do exactly that by providing you with the ingredients you need to make for a specific meal. There’s a great future in this idea.
Ok, so cooking classes as a business idea are not new. The uptake in online learning and general use of the multimedia abilities of the internet brings a new element to it though. People are much more receptive to learning through these methods. Here’s an idea, people may want to learn how to make speciality recipes from different cuisines like Chinese for example. Supplying meal kits that go along with the classes or lessons would appeal to a lot of people.
Sauces fall under the category of preserves and there’s a lot of room to explore in them. I’ve mentioned before that Zimbabwe is a chilli loving country and there’s an appetite for all sorts of sauces, not just traditional chilli sauces. Marinades, braai sauces, tomato sauces, cooking sauces and many more could be viable. So get out there and find out what sort of sauces people would be willing to give a try.
Desserts are another big part of food as we know it and the best part is they are not only enjoyed after supper. The best desserts are enjoyable at any time of day. Ideas like smoothies have certainly been received very well so what’s to say other dessert ideas can’t find their way into the hearts, minds and of course stomachs of Zimbabweans through your business idea?
Yes, we have an abundance of sweets or candy available but the game here is quality, not quantity. People are willing to try all sorts of confectionery. There are many people with a sweet tooth out there, this may be the biggest affliction there is when it comes to food. You can experiment with hard and soft candies or even chocolate-based candies until you find what people are interested in.
For various reasons but most often health and belief related groups of people are looking for foods that are organic, natural or free from certain processes. Gluten-free for example is becoming more popular but many people do not realise that a lot of foods we consume traditionally, meaning they are in abundant supply locally, are naturally gluten-free. Vegans and the organic market would also benefit from this. Supplying food that helps people keep to their dietary requirements is a viable new food business idea.
These are some interesting new food business ideas that we can consider for Zimbabwe. There’s a lot of work involved in establishing them but as others who have explored what were new ideas at the time will attest to it is well worth it.