GFA Spotlight

GFA Spotlight: Dillish Foods (GetFundedAfrica May/June Fundraising Cohort Edition)

About The Founder (s)

Chukwunweike Kidochukwu and Kelechi Odoemena run Dillish Instant Foods as co-founders. It is an innovative food processing company providing healthy meals which reduces cooking time and are also easy to prepare. 

Prior to working full time on Dillish Instant Foods, Kido had roles in transport management, digital learning and was once a consultant/individual contractor; his training consist of surveying & geomatics and logistics & supply chain management.  Whereas Kelechi held positions as an agriculture researcher and a financial analyst with a background in agricultural economics. Their joint trainings and experiences complement one another while managing Dillish Instant Foods.  

Kido’s personal motto is simple; he wants to “make a difference” (M.A.D). This is most likely derived from his unique traits of driving change, leading a solution to a definite end and solving problems. Like his co-founder, Kelechi has three words he marches to daily: “Live. Learn. Achieve.” and his exceptional power is deriving insights, especially from numbers.

When they are not strategizing on how to improve Dillish Instant Foods, Kido loves playing chess, and table tennis, swimming, learning a new language, and watching sports while Kelechi can be found video gaming and systems modelling.

About the Business: Dillish Instant Foods

After a program with the International Trade Centre (ITC) where Kido worked on agricultural value chain improvement, he started researching the agricultural value chain in Nigeria. One of the projects he worked on at the ITC was the improvement of the quality of vegetables in Zimbabwe through the use of a shared, cold chain storage facility. Another project was giving farmers access to the market price of their products to improve their negotiation power with middlemen.

When he saw the far-reaching impacts of these initiatives on thousands of people, he dug deeper into agricultural value chain opportunities in Nigeria.

Then during his master’s program in Edinburgh, Kido not only had difficulty acquiring Nigerian foods, but also in the preparation of his favourite meals. This culminated in the choice to go into storage and processing as a way to add value in the food value chain.

Dillish Instant Foods wants to make cooking staples easier, faster and healthier, and is working hard to become the number one brand in its sector.

The six-year-old company currently has four full-time and six part-time staff on its payroll. It has also recorded several successes including:

  • a patent for its low power, high output dehulling machine.
  • a proprietary storage method for storing grains without the use of chemicals.
  • fabricated most of its processing machines locally, eliminating high capital and maintenance costs
  • acquired licenses needed to sell our products in Nigeria and the US developed a 1ton/batch solar dryer which uses the sun as its primary heat source, thus reducing cost of drying by over 60%.
  • built a factory where processing, product development and research takes place.
  • developed a low carb, high fibre swallow as a healthy option to the high carb swallows currently available.
  • developed unique cereals using tigernut milk as a key ingredient.
  • tested our products commercially by selling in the open market and in retail stores

However, these accomplishments do not come with business territory challenges, one of which is constantly focusing on opportunities to reduce operational costs. Another is the local production of its processing machines which eliminates high costs of obtaining and importing foreign equipment or replacement of scarce machine parts.

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One other challenge is its competitors. In the face of such local, known brands –  Augustsecrets, Ayoola Foods, AACE Foods, Lentus Foods – and foreign giants like Nestle and Kellogg’s, Dillish Instant Foods rates itself as an innovative newcomer with a rapid growth mindset and potential in this industry. And its claim has merits going by its processing methods and strings of successes, all of which were achieved without significant external investment. It has created jobs, produced meals and a processing system. It would be interesting to see what more it can accomplish with a fresh injection of funds.

Dillish Instant Foods plans to develop soluble, tigernut milk powder to compete in the dairy industry, and increase the number of products offered in different subsectors of the food and beverage industry. Exportation of such is also a big feature in its plans, as well as expansion into other African countries and internationally via Amazon

In five years, Dillish Instant Foods’ products in the cereal, swallows, and beverage sectors will be in the homes of almost every Nigerian family and some in the diaspora. It wants to be known as the business making healthy food alternatives (including local staples) readily available and easy to prepare such that they compete favorably with the leading brands.

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