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‘Integration of AI, data analytics could reshape food industry’

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Nadayar Enegesi is an entrepreneur who is passionate about Africa’s youth prosperity and quality of life. As the founder of Homemade by Eden Life, Enegesi, who holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, is living his dreams by ensuring that Africans live better through a platform for essential services like food, self care, home care, financial services and entertainment. He spoke to IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA on his venture into food technology.

Food technology has been rapidly evolving. Could you provide an overview of how it’s changing the way people approach cooking and dining?
Technology has always enabled us to get more done with less. These days, as time is becoming more of a scarce resource, food technology is helping people meet the number one essential need of human beings, which is eating. Food technology is revolutionising the culinary landscape by making quality meals more accessible and convenient. From meal kit delivery services to advanced cooking appliances, technology allows individuals to enjoy their favourite meals without the time-intensive preparation.

How does your brand contribute to the larger food technology ecosystem?
Homemade by Eden Life contributes to the food tech ecosystem in a variety of ways. From the consumer standpoint, we have built a technology that allows people to easily access great homemade food. We are also building some tools that would enable us to make these deliveries efficient, and we are going to open up opportunities for other food businesses to use them as well. Ensuring quality through our process – from the way we receive ingredients, to the way we prep them, to the way we actually cook them and package them – we see ourselves supporting the ecosystem in different ways by giving them access to our processes and our facilities.

In a country where hectic schedules are commonplace, how do you perceive the relationship between technology, culinary traditions and the need for convenient dining options?
The relationship is symbiotic. Technology preserves culinary traditions by making them accessible to time-strapped individuals. While fast-paced lives might limit cooking time, technology bridges the gap by allowing people to savour traditional flavours through innovative solutions like ours, preserving the cultural importance of homemade meals.

What challenges do you face as a food tech company as regards striving to maintain balance, convenience and nutritional value?
The challenge that food tech companies face when trying to balance these three factors – quality, delivery time and affordability, is ensuring that convenience or pricing doesn’t compromise nutritional integrity and vice versa. As food tech evolves, companies must find ways to sustain all three and keep their customers happy. Striking the right balance requires continuous innovation, collaboration with nutritionists and a commitment to delivering nourishing options.

Research shows that a significant number of career-oriented individuals are in hectic roles. How does the food technology industry contribute to their well-being and work-life balance?
For these career-oriented individuals to actually live and work well, they need to properly fuel their bodies. It is very easy to fall into the trap of working really hard and eating unhealthily. When you eat poorly, your body doesn’t feel good and you fall ill. But at Eden Life, we understand that because people are working so hard and they are time-pressed, when we offer them the convenience of getting food quickly, the food they are eating is one that properly fuels their bodies and that’s why we pay more attention to the food processing than most other options on offer across Lagos. This industry strives to enhance well-being by freeing up time for other essential activities. That is why nutrition is important; it is not just about making food. It has to be good food. We also partner with companies to provide healthy meals to their employees at their offices.

As the food tech sector expands, what innovations do you foresee that could redefine how Nigerians dine in the future?
The first will have to be the technology that goes into how we make food. There are some meals that require very intense preparation. For example, pounded yam. Imagine if there was a machine that could pound yam and it would taste and feel the same way as though someone pounded it manually. I believe the appliances that we use to make food will evolve. There are foods that have remained the same since the beginning of time and there are also so many food entrepreneurs that are experimenting with new flavours.

The integration of Artificial Intelligence, data analytics and sustainable sourcing could reshape the industry. AI-powered recipe recommendations and personalised nutrition plans might become mainstream. So, imagine there is an open-source database of all the recipes and all the foods in Nigeria and it is made available to ensure people are able to experience the true variety our culture offers.

It would bring everybody and our palettes closer. Additionally, advancements in sustainable sourcing and reduced food waste can contribute to a more eco-conscious and efficient food chain.

Nigeria’s food service market is competitive. How do you plan to build and maintain customer trust and loyalty considering the importance of hygienic food preparation?
Indeed, Nigeria’s food service market is dynamic and competitive; that’s why trust and loyalty are paramount to our mission at Homemade by Eden Life. Ensuring the safety, quality and hygienic preparation of our meals is at the core of our strategy to build and maintain customer trust and loyalty. We are deeply committed to transparency. We believe in fostering an open and honest relationship with our customers. This means sharing information about our sourcing practices, ingredient quality and the stringent hygiene measures we adhere to in our kitchen facilities.

People trust you by doing what you say and in Nigeria, that’s no different. To solidify trust, we prioritise food safety. Our kitchen operations are designed with the highest industry standards in mind. Anybody can come here and get a tour of our facility to see how detailed we are. We implement rigorous sanitation protocols, maintain strict temperature controls, and regularly audit our processes to ensure compliance with hygiene regulations. We take these measures not only to meet standards but also to exceed them, offering our customers an unwavering assurance of the safety of our meals.

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