Frankfurt (Germany) and Lagos (Nigeria), December 2020. Africa’s rapidly expanding population and high rate of urbanization are among the factors contributing to a dramatic reorganization of the continent’s food and agri-systems. These and other factors combine to make urban African food prices among the highest in the world. For example, according to the World Food Program, Nigeria ranks 2nd highest for the cost of a meal around the world. The local cost of ingredients ranges from 55% of daily income in Lagos to 120% for Nigeria as a whole. Further, growing demand and increasing stresses of climate change have pushed the prices of local staples such as yams, rice, onions, and potatoes up more than 40% over the course of the last year. Lagos-based startup Pricepally has been operating for just over a year to specifically tackle this problem.
Pricepally has developed and implemented an innovative, social approach to food purchasing with their web and mobile application. The digital food cooperative platform offers users a wide assortment of food options to purchase in bulk directly from farmers and producers. Households or food businesses can buy individually, or as a group with friends or strangers to lower costs even further. This farm-to-fork approach provides farmers and producers with a ready market for their goods, while households or food businesses purchasing on the platform benefit from easy access to affordable and high-quality goods and food.
Ms. Abiola represents one of Pricepally’s typical individual customers. Before Pricepally, grocery shopping for her family meant that Ms. Abiola took weekly trips to several of Lagos’ many food markets to look for the best prices on food staples. This also meant facing the wildly fluctuating food prices and the inconvenience of having to travel between multiples locations to find quality products at reasonable prices. She began using Pricepally in July of 2020 after learning about it on Instagram. Since joining she has been purchasing on the app on a weekly basis. “I never feel ripped off with Pricepally, which is why I have kept using the platform. I never thought that I would feel comfortable shopping from my phone…” said Ms. Abiola. According to her, Pricepally has allowed her household to save an average of 20% on her regular purchases of beef, beans, rice, and fruit. She regularly uses the Pally purchase option to share bulk goods with other users on the platform and has recruited some of her neighbors as well.
By leveraging technology to match aggregated demand with aggregate supply, Pricepally is actively helping Nigerian’s to buy high-quality food stuff at affordable prices. The platform’s customer focus and novel social element ensure that customers like Ms. Abiola stay Pricepally shoppers.