Nigerian salad and smoothie chain opens eighth location

SoFresh Neighbourhood Market, a Lagos-based chain that is hybrid of a quickservice restaurant and a fruit and vegetable shop, recently opened its eighth outlet. It focuses on such fare as sandwiches, wraps, salads, fruit packs, muesli, juices and smoothies, while also offering fresh fruit and vegetables and a limited selection of “healthy” packaged food.

SoFresh claims to be “Nigeria’s number one healthy food chain, providing fresh, delicious, nutrient-rich healthy meals.” Apart from a single outlet in the capital Abuja, all of its stores are located in Lagos. Prices are high by local standards – a 500ml smoothie costs NGN1,200 (USD3.32), with salads starting at NGN2,000 (USD5.54).

Founded in 2010 as Fruitivegies, the business initially focused solely on retailing fresh fruit and vegetables in a modern, hygienic environment, but “We discovered that our consumers wanted healthy meals, so we responded to that. It was a very new concept in Nigeria, so we experimented with different types of ready meals,” founder and CEO Olagoke Balogun said in a 2016 interview. He credits SoFresh’s expansion to the fact that Nigerians are becoming more health conscious.

According to ethical investment fund Tripe I, which acquired a 15% stake in the business during late 2018, SoFresh has an annual turnover of around €800,000 and has posted an average annual growth rate of 70% over recent years. Moving forward, a key challenge will be to get more men through its doors – at the moment, 80% of its customers are women.

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