The Burger and Akara and Bread businesses are two different food ventures that are thriving in Nigeria. With one being a Nigerian delicacy and the other a foreign meal that has been adopted by many Nigerians, there’s no stopping the consumption of either food anytime soon.
Though the headline of this article is creating an opinion that there seems to be a war between both, I want to state clearly that there’s no war going on. Rather, in a bid to promote Akara and Bread, popularly called A&B, I want to take you on a short and brief journey that tends to exploit an untapped business angle of this delicacy on a large scale.
Let’s start from the origin of these delicacies
Origin of Burger
The exact origin of the burger is disputed, but it is widely believed to have originated in the United States in the late 19th or early 20th century. Some credit its invention to Louis Lassen, who supposedly made the first hamburger sandwich in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1900. Others claim it was created by various vendors at fairs and events during that era.
Origin of Akara And Bread
On the other hand, Akara is a popular West African street food, particularly in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and Benin. It is commonly believed to have originated from the Yoruba people of Nigeria.
Ingredients & Prepagarions
A traditional burger consists of several key components:
- Bun: Typically a round bread roll, often with sesame seeds, though various bun types are used.
- Patty: The central element, usually made from ground meat, most commonly beef, but it can also be made from poultry, pork, or even plant-based ingredients like tofu, beans, or mushrooms.
- Toppings: A wide range of toppings can be added, including lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, cheese, bacon, mushrooms, and condiments like ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, and various special sauces.
- Cheese: Cheeseburgers are a popular variation where a slice of cheese is added to the patty and allowed to melt.
- Condiments: Common condiments include ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce.
On the other side, Akara is primarily made from beans (cowpeas), which are soaked, peeled, and ground into a paste. Other common ingredients include onions, spices (like pepper and seasoning cubes), and sometimes herbs.
To prepare akara, the ground bean paste is mixed with the seasonings and deep-fried in vegetable oil until it becomes golden brown and crispy. The result is a round or oval-shaped fritter with a crispy exterior and a soft, flavorful interior.
Difference Between Burger and Akara & Bread
1 Main Ingredients:
Burger: The primary ingredient of a burger is a patty made from ground meat, such as beef, chicken, turkey, or even plant-based ingredients in the case of veggie burgers. The patty is typically seasoned and cooked, and it’s sandwiched between a bun with various toppings and condiments.
Akara: Akara is made primarily from beans, which are soaked, peeled, and ground into a paste. It does not contain meat but is a vegetarian fritter. Akara is deep-fried, resulting in a crispy exterior and a soft interior.
2. Culinary Origin:
Burger: Burgers have their origins in the United States and are widely associated with American fast food culture.
Akara: Akara is a West African street food, particularly popular in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and Benin. It has its roots in West African culinary traditions.
3. Cooking Method:
Burger: Burgers are typically grilled, pan-fried, or cooked on a griddle to cook the meat patty and achieve the desired level of doneness. Some variations are also breaded and deep-fried.
Akara: Akara is deep-fried in vegetable oil to achieve its crispy texture.
4. Taste and Texture:
Burger: Burgers have a savory taste due to the seasoned meat patty and are known for their juicy and meaty texture. The toppings and condiments add a variety of flavors and textures.
Akara: Akara has a different flavor profile as it is made from beans. It has a nutty, earthy flavor with a crispy exterior and a soft, flavorful interior.
5. Serving and Usage:
Burger: Burgers are commonly served as a sandwich, where the meat patty is placed inside a bun along with various toppings and condiments. They are often served as a main course.
Akara: Akara is typically served as a snack or breakfast food. It can be eaten on its own, with bread, pap (a fermented cereal pudding), or as a side dish with porridge or other meals.
6. Cultural Significance:
Burger: Burgers have become an iconic symbol of American fast food culture and are popular worldwide.
Akara: Akara is deeply rooted in West African culinary traditions and is a staple street food in the region.
Exploring Business Opportunities in Akara And Bread Business
With how prominent Akara and Bread have become, looking at this delicacy from a different angle, one would see potential in the Akara frying business, big enough to rival the Burger, which is the only contemporary rival in terms of look and serving.
Just as there are variations to the burger and the burger industry is always evolving, with trends like gourmet toppings, fusion burgers, and healthier alternatives constantly emerging to meet changing consumer preferences, the Akara is also evolving.
For instance, somewhere in the heart of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Prince Francis aka (AkaraBoy) has been using the Akara Boy brand to change how Akara is perceived. He has different variations of the delicacy and is constantly carving a niche with the “billion dollar business” created by his mother which he has existed for over thirty years now.
Now, while the burger is most times prepared on request or most of its condiments readily available in the market and others parboiled and kept for use when requested, the akara has a longer preparation process because it is always served fresh.
One will then ask, how do we preserve Akara and bread?
I will answer the question by asking, how do you preserve Burger? The question then becomes, how do we prepare and preserve the bean paste so it doesn’t get sour by morning?
I might have some ideas that seem feasible. But just as with every other business, solving the problem is where the money lies. As a delicacy that is served fresh, it is not meant to be stale. So, one easy way is to grind the beans (just as stated in the preparation heading).
Another method is to use a dehydrator to turn the bean paste into powder. With this, once someone orders Akara, you can easily convert it into a paste by mixing it with an appropriate quantity of water and frying. I will conceal a lot about this idea but this second method has a lot of potential and usability.
However, the packaging matters a lot as well. With the right packaging, you can get people to want to eat Akara and bread. Take a look at the picture attached to this post, Akara and bread are not popularly served this way, but there’s a semblance with how it is usually served. So, for someone who is ready to rebrand how this delicacy is served, you should be getting streams of ideas now.
Our Akara and Bread delicacy should be able to compete favourably with the burger in any part of the world and as your favourite business developer, I am ready to partner with you in developing this business. You can easily reach me through my facebook profile.