According to the Association of Fast Food and Confectioners of Nigerian (AFFCON), an umbrella body of Quick Service Restaurants (QSR); in Nigeria, just the Fast Food segment of the entire food industry is worth over N250 billion, and still with a huge growth potential. Euromonitor, a leading research firm states that “the Nigerian food industry is one of the best-performing industries in country despite the economy downturn and huge decline in consumer spending power over the years the industry has grown well and right now Consumers are still making switch from unpackaged and unbranded products to packaged products.”
Apart from providing aesthetic appeal, the packaging of food product also has protective roles and with technological advancement, consumers have found several of their desired food come in various forms of packaging over the years and has gained wide spread acceptance. Nigerian food industry is estimated to be over a trillion Naira. Another segment that is worth examining is the Carbonated Soft Drink (CSD) segment, which undoubtedly has become the most competitive and aggressive in the food industry as a whole.
This is as a result of the change in consumer’s lifestyle and their demand for quality, durability and convenience. This saw the transition from the use of glass bottles for beverage packaging to highly versatile PET and Tetrapak designs. Carbonated Soft Drink market in Nigeria has continued to grow in the midst of economic difficulties with new brands making entry into Africa’s biggest market. CSD’s sometimes share joint demand with food and fast-food which further helps both segments to stay afloat. PET Resin Association (PETRA), the association for North America’s producers of PET packages used around the world, says PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, and it is hygienic, strong, and resistant to attack by micro- organisms. PET does not biologically degrade, and its safety for food and beverage is recognized by health authorities around the world, making it the most preferred material for packaging many foods and beverages.
For its health concern as a packaging material, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Canada, the European Food Safety Authority and other health-safety agencies around the world say “PET is a biologically inert material that doesn’t react with foods or beverages and it is resistant to attack by micro- organisms, as it has been thoroughly reviewed and approved as safe for contact with food and drinks.” Food processing offer consumers a range of products which comes in different forms such as nuts, baked foods, canned drinks, carbonated beverages and several others, the Nigerian market has also witnessed this array of products, especially in the Carbonated Soft Drink (CSD) segment like La Casera-the pioneer of PET bottles in Nigeria. La Casera Apple Drink is a leading CSD brand, which made its debut in the Nigerian market in the year 2001 as the first of its kind in PET bottle and it contains 4% apple juice concentrate, making it distinct from several other apple drinks and other CSD products. Apples are one of the healthiest fruits known and there are over 7,000 variants of apples in the world. Apples are extremely rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fibre making them able to provide improved digestion, and also prevent stomach and eye disorders.
Drinkopaedia, an online search tool claims non-alcoholic beverages carbonation is the major factor behind some drinks being tagged as a CSD and leads to the elimination of oxygen. It also acts as a natural preservative, as it inhibits the growth of bacteria and makes the drink become effervescent. Knowing therefore the significance of the food industry and how a slight deviation from adherence to stipulated food quality guidelines could mean a potential health hazard, several regulatory bodies have been established across the world and they are responsible for ensuring the safety of food for humans. However, Nigeria is not left behind, as on January 1, 1994 The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) was officially established in Nigeria as a “Parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Health”. It is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring appropriate test and analysis are conducted and compliance with standard specifications for the effective control of the quality of food, CSD products, drugs, bottled water etc, as well as the production process in factories and other establishments is ensured.