BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Adewale Badejoko: Entrepreneur tackling Nigeria’s malnutrition challenges

Adewale Badejoko is the founder and chief executive officer of Frootify – a leading wellness and nutrition startup. He is one of Nigeria’s young entrepreneurs building a phenomenal business focused on tackling the country’s malnutrition problems.

Adewale is a pacesetter in the Nigerian health and wellness industry and an integral member of the nation-building process.

In a bid to ensure that the vitamins and minerals inherent in fruits that are grown abundantly in the country are used to promote Nigerians’ health, he was inspired to establish Frootify in 2019.

“Our huge food loss and waste has become a leading cause of food insecurity, thus investing in tackling wastages is critical to Nigeria’s future,” he says.

“Fruit waste is a common sight I have witnessed firsthand while travelling through different parts of Nigeria. It’s watermelon in Kano, bananas in Edo, orange in Benue, pineapple in Osun, cashew in Kogi, cucumbers, and many other fruits,” he notes.

“I couldn’t resist thinking what if people had eaten these fruits wasting, would it have made them healthier, saved the life of a child desperately in need of nourishment or perhaps helped someone achieve his or her nutritional daily requirement,” he recalls.

“I wanted to change this narrative by ensuring that fruits wasting away are put to productive use to tackle the country’s high malnutrition challenge,” he says.

To do this, the young entrepreneur established Frootify to promote good health and wellness through nutritious-based drinks and products.

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“The great gulf between the table and farm end of our food chain due to a lack of upstream market to fix this paralysis fueled my passion to create the solution we have called Frootify,” he emphasises.

Today, Frootify drinks and products are 100percent natural food brand that is produced using freshly harvested grains, nuts, roots and tubers, legumes, and fruits and vegetables.

Adewale and his co-founder started the business their business small with an amount gotten from their savings. They also got a grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation to boost their operations.

Since starting, the business has grown steadily and continues to help tackle the malnutrition challenges in Africa’s biggest economy. “We have grown tremendously and notably would be the many converts, now ‘Frootifiers’, whose minds have been exposed through our solution to a new dimension of healthy living.”

He says the business plans to expand its retail operations across the country in the short run. “We plan to expand our retail operations into other places while also planning an expansion of our technology solutions.”

Responding to the question on the strategy the business adopted to survive the pandemic, he notes that the virus outbreak made people become health conscious which helped the business gain market acceptance.

“One of the biggest aftermaths of the 2020 global pandemic was the deep realisation that the world is a survival of the healthiest causing many to take a review of their health, and nutrition concerns more seriously and personal.”

“This gave our nutrition solution a great degree of market acceptance however consumer purchasing power was greatly eroded with fewer discretionary incomes, supply chains as well were disrupted so we had a sweet and sour type of situation.”

On some of the major challenges limiting his business, he says the country’s huge infrastructural gaps and inadequate finance are major hurdles limiting his business.

To overcome the storage and cold-chain infrastructural problem, he says the business has relied on data across its business processes to reduce the distance travelled by fruits as well as carbon emission while also using some modular innovations.

He urges the government to bridge the huge infrastructural gaps.

On his advice to other entrepreneurs, he says “give attention to your context and factor the macroeconomy into your business decisions.”

“There is an increasing rate of globalization affecting nations and industries. Happenings in some other environment could have a direct and indirect impact on your business, so it pays to give thought to them when running a business venture even if they won’t help your business at least they won’t hurt it either,” he advises.

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