As inflation rises above 20%, middle-class Nigerians are forming WhatsApp groups to buy food items in bulk directly from producers and share among themselves.
For Cecelia Anahobi, a single mother of two, grocery shopping in 2022 meant navigating steadily rising food prices. As inflation in Nigeria crossed 20%, Anahobi, a resident of Calabar city in southern Nigeria, saw bread, milk, cereal, meat, and vegetables become costlier with each trip to the store. So, when a colleague told her about bulk shopping via WhatsApp, she couldn’t wait to try it.
In November, Anahobi joined a WhatsApp group called Calabar Grocery Group, whose 590 members source items in bulk directly from producers, and share among themselves. “We bought a bag of local rice for 28,000 naira [$60.90] in December, whereas it was selling for 36,000 naira [$78.30] at the market,” Anahobi told Rest of World. “So this [food group] gives me more value for my money because the food is bought in bulk, which is way cheaper than if you were buying in bits.”