Zobo drink production business, by Agbaji Chinedu
In Nigeria, agriculture remains the largest sector of the economy. Hibiscus flowers (Zobo) are multicoloured and varied and an annual herb cultivated for its leaves, stem, seed and calyces. It grows nearly throughout the year, though its peak production is during the dry season of November to April of the following year.
In Nigeria, the Zobo drink produced from the red calyces is native to northern Nigeria but its consumption has gained wide acceptance all over Nigeria due partly to its speculated antihypertensive properties but the low shelf life of the drink produced by the traditional method has placed a serious limitation on its general acceptance and consumption in Nigeria.
The Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi while realizing the many health benefits of Zobo drink has worked extensively on production and preservation of the drink and has developed and perfected a process technology for same.
Zobo drink production business
The good news is that research and technological advancement has made it possible for this business to become an agribusiness project to venture into with a high return on investment. With thought out preservatives, zobo drinks have a life span and can be produced, distributed to any part of Nigeria. I can categorically say our zobo drinks has international markets too.
Business opportunities in zobo drink production
Energy Drink: Zobodrink helps to increase energy levels, can also speed up the metabolic system and help in healthy, gradual weight loss.
Health Drink: The consumption of zobo drinks in different concentrations may help in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and inflammatory problems as well. It helps cure liver diseases and reduces the risk of cancer. It is rich in vitamin C, minerals, antioxidants and helps in the treatment of hypertension and anxiety.
Zobo soft drink: Zobe drink is widely made and consumed in Nigeria as a recreational drink.
Raw materials for zobo tea production
The major raw material for zobo drink production is dried Zobo leaf also known as Hibiscus flower, but one can add ginger, garlic, cinnamon, star anise and dry honey etc, fruits such as pineapple, cucumber, beetroot etc, sugar (optional) and flavours to spice it up. What you add to zobo drink depends on the brand you want to produce.
Zobo drink is becoming commercially packaged, branded and distributed like other drinks. If properly branded with intensive and extensive advertisement it will fly. You should take a clue from zobocola. It is a refined zobo, certified by NAFDAC. Zobocola comes in 40cl and 50cl sizes.
How to bottle zobo drink
There are some bottling samples such as Coca-cola, Spirit, Fanta etc. But it should be something uniquely different from others. Such that anybody sighting the drink without coming closer will know that is your zobo drink. Mix several flavours until you get the desired taste. The taste has to be consistent (write it down somewhere less you forget), uniquely different from any other zobo drink.
Print labels and paste them on them. Use a well conned and appealing name that can easily be memorised and pronounced.
Make sure the mouth is properly sealed in other to guarantee its quality and hygienic conditions. Use different sizes of containers such as 50cl, 75cl etc and sell at different prices.
The Zobo beverage will stay fresh for a longer period if you use preservatives. There are natural and chemical preservatives. The list of natural ingredients you can use includes ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, lime etc. These additional ingredients can preserve the flavour and freshness for a while. The list of chemical ingredients includes 0.1 per cent of sodium benzoate (add a pound of sodium benzoate to one gallon of water and you’ll get exactly what you need). You’ll have to use about an ounce of this solution per Zobo beverages gallon to preserve it better and keep it carbon-free. The other option includes a mixture of citric acid and magnesium sulfate (about 10 ml and 15 mg of each per 5 litres of Zobo brew). Keep in mind, that this chemical can change the drink’s taste so you might need also to pour fruit juice to neutralise this effect.
Machinery for zobo drink production
The machinery to use depends on your production line and capacity. Also, almost all the machinery are locally fabricated, it is easy to access. Some of the machinery are:
- Washing machine
- Boiling tank (It depends on your capacity – 50 litters to 1000 litters)
- Mixing tank
- Water supply and water tank
- Bottling machine
- Sealing machines
Key success factor in zobo drink production
- Interesting and attractive branding and packaging.
- Introduction of the product in various flavours.
- Strategic distribution of the product.
- Maximum motivation of your employees to ensure maximum output.
The targeted market for zobo drinks is as follows.
- School Pupils, Students, and Children: – They are the ones who are greatly recommended to drink zobo because of its natural nourishment and vitality.
- Athletes and Sports People: Because of the need for energy and refreshment during sports activities, Zobo drink is in the best position to provide such needs as a result of its high energy content.
- Fast food, Restaurant and Hotels: Zobo drinks have the potential of crossing borders and also boosting our local and traditional soft drinks. Most foreigners and visitors do go to our local restaurants and hotels just to experience our local delicacies, handiworks and foods. Zobo drink is not an exemption.
- Travellers: According to observation and experience, those who travel by bus most especially are prone to buying soft drinks during their journey. Zobo drink should be suitable for such period.
Finally, the Zobo drink production business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and benefits. If you’re looking for a business to venture into, the zobo drink production business in Nigeria is a great option to explore. But you need to be trained on an effective production process that will be cost-effective and profitable.