"Africa's agricultural sector has enormous scope for development, which would benefit both the continent's economy and its people. " - Richard Attias (Moroccan businessman)
Whilst some things work better in London, there are also some things that I don’t do in London that I do in Lagos. Ordering groceries online is one of them. I was loyal to Sainsbury’s in the UK, but I found that it was always more efficient to go in-store as same-day delivery was unlikely and delivery is £3+, sometimes even £5. I have used a few places for various kitchen ingredients in Lagos, and they each have their pros and cons. The beauty of Africa is the access to fresh, organic ingredients, and in Lagos, you can order farm to fork. Going to the supermarket is always disappointing, as it is more expensive and places like Shoprite have something today, but won’t have the same item tomorrow. Hence, ordering to the house saves time and aggro. Here are some of the places that I use:
Supermart.ng was one of the first places that I used to buy groceries online. I like them because if you order before noon, they will do same-day delivery (usually by 4-8 pm). They deliver even faster on a Sunday. They have over 10,000 items and use multiple supermarkets and markets to fulfil your order.
- They rarely call you after your order to tell you that they don’t have the items you paid for.
- They are relatively cheap, especially for fruit and vegetables.
- They have a large variety of items, including alcohol, office supplies, baby items etc.
- They have decent item descriptions
- The fruit is often extremely ripe and close to spoiling. Especially the Cotonou pineapples; I had to stop ordering those.
- Sometimes the fruit is not ripe and will take at least a week to ripen, e.g. bananas and avocados.
Organicfoods.com.ng was another place that I used to use for fresh groceries. Organic Foods (by Magnificent Minds Agro) offers a variety of organic food products, including fruits, vegetables, beef, poultry, dairy, and others. They mostly deliver same-day if you order early in the day.
- They have a better variety of cooking leaves than Supermart.ng, e.g. Afang leaves, waterleaf etc.
- They send you a large quantity of produce
- They can grind the leaves for you if you want
- Their leaves are fresh
- Their meat is fresh
- They are also relatively cheap compared to the others
- You have to order through Whatsapp, as they regularly do not have the items that are on the website (why are Nigerian businesses like this? SIGH)
- They got my order wrong every single time I used them. They would forget items or send the wrong thing.
- Their peppers were not that fresh; they were wrinkly already when I got them.
Gomarket.ng is the service that I use the most now. You can order directly from farms or markets that you are familiar with. They also sell a range of categories, such as cereals, pet food, drinks, canned food etc. They mostly deliver same-day if you order early in the day, though this didn’t happen when I ordered on a Sunday.
- They have the freshest produce of them all
- They have a wide variety of items you can order
- You can order leaves that are grinded
- Their leaves are fresh
- Their meat is fresh and packed decently
- They are the most expensive compared to Supermart and OrganicFoods
- Every time I have ordered, they have called me to tell me something that I ordered is not available. Sometimes, there is a substitute, and sometimes there isn’t. Hence, now I have started paying by cash on delivery.
- Their peppers were not that fresh, and they were wrinkly already when I got them.
4. Organic Shoppe
Organic.ng is a service that I used once. You can order farm produce, skincare and other wellness products. I used them for items you cannot find on the other sites, such as flaxseed, chlorella powder etc.
- They have obscure items that you cannot find on the other sites, e.g. essential oils, charcoal, butters etc.
- They have many other nutritional services available (I have not used this)
- (There may be others, but I did not order farm produce from them)
- They are expensive. I don’t know if it’s because many of their items are probably imported and repackaged, but they certainly are not cheap.
Overall, I pray we can get to a day when Nigerian businesses take their online shops more seriously and become more efficient. For example, they should be updating out-of-stock items on their websites in real-time! Otherwise, it’s better to pay cash on delivery and check the items they bring you at the door.