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How to start an Ice cream business in Nigeria


Ice cream is a popular treat that is mostly enjoyed during the dry season by everybody both the old and the youths, rich or poor especially the children and ladies. The demand for ice cream in Nigeria is on the rise. Ice cream has different flavours, a smooth surface, cooling and invigorating impact. Ice cream contains sugar, fats, protein and minerals etc. It is usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours.

People make profit by selling ice cream

  • From the office location to potential customers
  • By outsourcing to events and gatherings
  • Through delivering to customers’ homes and offices

The market for ice cream in Nigeria is widespread and your ice cream business is strategically located, you will make sales. Different ice cream flavours includes the following although not limited to:

  • Vanilla flavour
  • Banana
  • Chocolate
  • Blackberry
  • Strawberry
  • Mint cream
  • Lavender
  • Raspberry
  • Red velvet


  • Start an ice cream store

The ice cream store will be located in a strategic place like a mall, offices, schools, markets or a commercial area where you will sell your ice cream products to potential clients. Clients will walk into the ice cream store and make their order. In order to have an ice cream store you will need to acquire a location or rent a space and hire experienced employees

  • Start an ice cream vending cart business

Starting an ice cream vending cart business will give you access to different locations, gatherings, and events. You could even choose to go to festivals and concerts in order to make more sales. This is a huge market for your ice cream industry which brings a huge profit. But before you venture into the ice cream vending cart business, you will need to have an understanding of different states regulations guiding street vending or sales.

  • Plan ice cream parties

Various parents require the services of an ice cream vendor in their children parties due to the popularity of ice cream among children. You can decide to outsource your services to them and if you provide excellent services, more clients will purchase your services through word of mouth recommendation

  • Ice cream truck business

Starting an ice cream truck business requires a truck that will contain freezers and other relevant equipment and machines with some staffs who will be working while the truck is in motion. While running the ice cream truck business, your operating expenses will include petrol for running the vehicle, ice cream supplies, maintenance costs and other relevant costs. Although one will need to acquire various permits and licenses from the state or local government before starting

  • Become a restaurant ice cream supplier

You can also decide to supply various restaurants ice creams. You could start an ice cream supply business and supply to targeted restaurants of your choice in the state. In order to ensure that you have steady clients, you have to make sure that you gather and make supplies on a daily basis. You also need to deliver quality ice cream or the restaurants will cut off your supply if the customers complain of them

  • Become an ice cream producer

You can also become an ice cream producer that manufactures ice cream in large quantities and sells it off to distributors or wholesalers who distribute to retailers, who are in charge of selling it to the final consumers. In order to start this business, you will need a large factory and different specialized equipment because you are producing in large quantities. Being an ice cream producer requires lots of capital to start, so you will need external funding

  • Become an ice cream distributor

You can also decide to be a distributor for various ice cream companies. You could acquire a cold truck or a cold room storage that will be used in storing the products. You can distribute your ice cream products to malls, wholesalers, mobile vendors, public and private schools etc.

  • Become an ice cream wholesaler

Becoming an ice cream wholesaler has to with purchasing from ice cream producers or wholesalers in bulk and selling them to retailers. You will also need a cold storage room for keeping various products

  • Bake and sell ice cream cake

An ice cream cake is a cake made up of ice cream with layers of sponge cake and cookies in between. You can start this business on a large scale by distributing to various malls and restaurants. In order to start this business, you will need baking skills and some staffs

  • Start a specialty ice cream business

You can offer ice cream to people with health issues or on different diets which prevents them from taking the traditional ice cream which poses a great risk to their health. This could be your target market as you offer them ice cream with reduced fat, free of glutton and nuts etc.

  • Distribution of liquid nitrogen

You could also start distributing liquid nitrogen to ice cream manufacturers and restaurants as it is one of the components used in freezing ice cream. Being that it is costly to preserve this product; restaurants usually buy them in reduced quantities at a time. You can start distributing them in smaller quantities to manufacturers and restaurants

  • Manufacturing ice cream spoons and plates

Ice cream spoons and plates are on high demand by restaurants and ice cream stores. You can start a business where you manufacture ice cream spoons and plates. In order to ensure that you make good sales, you have to make your product more fashionable and durable


In order to start a successful ice cream business in Nigeria, you will need to follow the following guidelines and procedures:

  • Decide on the ice cream business or services to render

This should be your first step when starting an ice cream business, you have to decide on the ice cream business opportunity that works out for you according to the finances you have available or the state laws governing it. Several ice cream opportunities includes owning an ice cream store, becoming an ice cream producer, ice cream  vending cart business, ice cream truck business etc.

  • Develop a business plan

This is one of the most relevant step any start up business must take to ensure its prosperity and growth. Before you do anything else, formulate a business plan according to your specification. A business plan is a guide, blueprint or a road-map that allows business owners to clearly state their business goals, procedures and measures they will take in order to achieve them and they funds needed to implement the business goals and objectives. Having a business plan for you ice cream business is very important and It will consider the following

  1. Executive summary (This will be done after the plan is written)
  • Business Overview
  • Market Overview: The Opportunity & Solution
  • Competition
  • Financial Highlights
  • Our Ask
  1. The company overview

This is the introduction and description of your company. It covers the following details

  • Mission and vision
  • Overview of company history/capabilities
  • Product description and present stage of development
  • Competitive advantage (what’s different or better than competition)
  • Past customers and performance (if applicable)
  • Legal entity, hours of operation, location description and attributes
  • Structure & Ownership
  • Management Team
  • Intellectual property status (if applicable)
  • Commercialization strategies (if applicable – time frame and actions to move from idea to marketplace
  1. Product and services

This covers the following:

  • Definition of Products or Services to be Sold
  • Product Viability
  • Technology
  1. Industry analysis, market analysis and marketing strategy
  2. Swot analysis
  3. Market analysis
  • Market size(Estimate of the total market size for the product or service and trends
  • Quantification of the size of each market segment in terms of (Naira spent, units used, number of people, percent of income etc.)
  • Competition to the business
  • Market Segmentation and Demographics
  • Customer Profile(Actual and potential purchasers of product or services by market segments)
  • Barriers to Entry
  1. Marketing/sales plan
  2. Management and operations
  3. Summary of risks involved
  4. Professional and advisors
  5. Financials
  • Cash flow projection and/or existing (3 years) with breakeven analysis
  • Income/Expense projection and/or existing (3 years with ratios and benchmarks to industry)
  • Sources and uses of funds (funds needed, owner equity, how funds will be used/start-up cost analysis
  1. Funding
  • Amount of Money Sought
  • Use of Proceeds

Project implementation schedule if any

  • Register your business name

Registering your business name is very important for your ice cream business. This is because your business will be separate from its owners and customers and clients will not patronize your product if they know that it is not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria. Depending on the business structure you want to set up for your business, there are different procedures for each structures

If you are starting as a very small business, you can register as a sole proprietor but if you are starting your business on a large scale, you can register your business as a limited liability company

  • Take care of the legal requirements

Obtain the necessary legal requirements before starting your business to avoid being penalized. These include licenses and permits from the local or state government and your Tax Identification Number (TIN). This will also ensure that you are operating within local health and safety guidelines

  • Finance your business

Starting an ice cream business requires a lot of capital because you will be purchasing various equipment, buying or renting a space, and hiring employees. These things cost money and external sources of fund may be needed for your business. Funding can be gotten from

  1. Self-financing: This has to do with the capital provided by the owner of the business
  2. Grants from government agencies: Various grants can also be gotten from the programs run by the state government or federal government
  3. Loans from banks: Having a detailed business plan and registering your business name will enable you access various bank loans
  4. Investors: Investors who have gone through your business plan and are assured that your furniture making business is profitable can invest millions of naira in your business
  5. Family and friends: Finance can also be gotten from families and friends that are willing to support your business
  • Decide on the location

A proper market research must be done before choosing a location to set up your ice cream business. If you are establishing an ice cream store, the location has to be easily accessible by customers. Look for a location near businesses, such as markets, children’s clothing/toy stores or family restaurants. For an ice cream truck, you will need to strategically position yourself for sales e.g. selling to students after closing hours.

  • Purchase the necessary equipment

When setting up an ice cream business, power is important because it prevents the ice cream from melting. Before starting an ice cream business you will need to purchase the following equipment

  1. Ice cream dipping cabinet
  2. Ice cream merchandising case
  3. Drop-in ice cream bar freezer
  4. Reach-in freezer
  5. Walk-in freezer
  6. Refrigerated pie
  7. Cake display case
  8. Ice machine
  9. Ice cream dispenser
  10. Soft serve ice cream dispenser
  11. Beverage dispenser
  12. Carbonator
  13. Syrup pumps
  14. Ice cream cone dispenser
  15. Toppings dispensers.
  16. Ice cream dishes
  17. Ice cream scoops
  18. Ice cream spades
  19. Ice cream dipper
  20. Toppings spoons
  21. Disposable ice cream dishes
  22. Single and double booths,
  23. Cash registers
  24. Point of sales system
  25. Menu board
  26. Sneeze guards
  27. Insert pans
  28. Ice cream and topping bowl covers
  • Expand your product range or menu

Apart from selling ice cream you can decide to start selling hot dogs, burgers, cookies, sandwiches, lollies etc. in order to boost the income of your company. This will also allow your customers to purchase other confectionaries from your business apart from ice cream

  • Acquire insurance

Insurance is also important for an ice cream business especially when you have an ice cream store, the insurance will ensure that you don’t suffer total loss when accidents happen or when food poisoning occurs

  • Hire and select employees

In starting an ice cream business, you will need between 7-9 employees in your business. There will be employees who will be at counter collecting and registering payment, another will be in charge of scooping the ice cream, others may be needed to make deliveries

. Personnel can be gotten through

  • Posting about the vacancy on your website and across any social media or email marketing channels
  • Asking your business network, as well as friends and family if they know anyone suitable
  • Adding the vacancy to general recruitment websites
  • Advertising the vacancy in industry trade media or local newspapers
  • Consider making deliveries

As an ice cream business, you should consider creating an avenue for making deliveries to customers who can’t travel down to the store location. You could have one or two delivery bikes that will make deliveries to various locations. This will also ensure that more products are sold

  • Marketing and Sales strategy

When running an ice cream making business, you must ensure that you employ certain measures in order to promote your business and attract customers. These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your ice cream making business

  1. Sponsor TV and Radio Programs
  2. Erect your billboards in strategic locations around the city
  3. Online Marketing./,M
  4. Referral Marketing
  5. Ensure that all your employees wear your branded shirts during work hours
  6. Sponsor relevant community programs
  • Organize a launch celebration

One of the ways to kick start an ice cream making business is by organizing a launch celebration. It will attract customers and clients. You have to ensure that there is provision of free ice cream products for your potential customers to sample them. This also aids with the publicity

Once you know the type of ice cream business you want to set up and you follow the appropriate guidelines and requirements, you are set to have a successful ice cream business in Nigeria. The ice cream business is a profitable one in Nigeria especially when you deliver creamy and tasty flavors

About the author

Onamakinde Dare Daniel is a highly motivated accountant with knowledge in Accounting, Taxation, Management, Audit, Costing and Research. He is keen on tax matters due to its ever dynamic nature.

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