By Elizabeth Adegbesan
SNACKING has become a major part of every Nigerian’s menu. It solves problems for adults on the go, who need to grab, bite and run, and, also for children who need it to keep bright in school.
In the 80’s and 90’s, snacks were derived from healthy foods, fruits or vegetables like coconut and corn. Examples were tiger nuts (dried), coconut candy, coconut toffee- baba dudu, kuli kuli- groundnut cake, kokoro- cornmeal snack,fried yam-dundun, fried soya bean cake- Beske, tofu or wara soya, fried sweet potatoes, plantain chips and plantain mosa.
Snacks saw a major improvement from these foods to those made from wheat flour like puff-puff , chin chin, egg roll , spring roll, shawarma, pizza and the like, and eventually became easy for both adults and children due to the high nutrients.
Besides the nutrients, they also became subtle approaches to calming the children or getting them to do what they would have ordinarily find difficult to do.
Snacks can make children who resist making or barbing their hairs to calm down.
The most effective of the snacks therapy is making the children freely agree to go to school.
That, also made snacks a regular content in the back pack of every school child. At some point, snacks became a way of showing off, especially among parents who have their children in private schools. The quality of snacks a child brings to school, tells how wealthy the parents are. However, the economic down turn appears to have also taken a toll on this tradition.
Parents are coming down from the rich foreign baked buiscuits and other confectioneries to local fries.
Economy &Lifestyle checks shows that the rising cost of baking ingredients and flour due to the Russia/Ukraine war has tripled the prices and reduced the sizes of these snacks including biscuits, making parents to find alternative ways of keeping snacks in their children’s pack packs.
Mrs Animasahun Victoria, a mother of two who Economy&Lifestyle approached as she was taking her children to school, said: “For me, there is no big deal about snacking apart from the delight it gives my children and make them agree to go to school willingly. Before now, I used to get my children packets of foreign buiscuits, bottles of cashew nuts and drinks like happy hour, capprisone among others. But today, the economy is becoming harder and the continuous increase in prices are not helping matters. So, I now make chinchin and zobo in large quantities and buy biscuits in fewer quantities. Though my kids sometimes request for their usual snacks, I always promise them better treatment in our outings which we have also reduced from twice a month to once in two months.”
Meanwhile, a buiscuit merchant, Mrs. Dupe Olayinka has also confirmed the scary trend.
She said: “The cost of biscuits has tripled due to the increasing costs of wheat flour The price of 50 kg of flour is now N15, 000 and above depending on the brand.
“Parents who buy more than three cartons of biscuits and sweets now buy one carton. Those who also retail are equally reducing their stock drastically.
“When I inquired, they told me most parents no longer purchase the quantity of snacks for their children like before”. Since COVID’19, most parents have become conscious of how they spend money as their income hardly matches rising cost of goods and services.