Flora Iyabo Katto, a teacher, food entrepreneur, baker, food consultant, recipe developer, blogger, and facilitator has impacted over 200 individual lives in the food industry and she has trained several children, who are now graduates from different universities in Nigeria. She is a graduate of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, where she majored in the three aspects of home economics: food and nutrition, home management, clothing, and textile. She is also an alumna of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Business School and she has acquired several certificates in entrepreneurship.
She founded Fragrance of Love Foundation, an online ministry for children, teenagers, and young adults where she meets with other women to pray as she believes in rebirthing children with prayers. She learnt to cook healthy meals from her mum and grandma who was an excellent caterer.
Luffitastier Indoor and Outdoor Service is a food and beverage company solving the problem of a healthy lifestyle, helping people make the right choice of feeding as according to her, you are what you eat. In this interview with Oyinlola Sale, Flora Iyabo Katto, CEO of Luffitastier tells how she has managed to sustain a food brand in a competitive market.
The food industry is a competitive market and yet you decided to step into it with Luffitastier. Tell us what led you to take that decision?
The food industry is very competitive. However, the fact that we are into the same business does not mean, we are solving the same problem. In the food industry, people still lack access to healthy meals and beverages. My passion for helping people make the right choice of feeding is also a driving force for me because you are what you eat. Health is wealth.
The food business in Nigeria has become innovative; it is more about the creativity infused with good taste. How unique is Luffitastier?
We carefully prepare meals and beverages from natural food ingredients free from toxins, chemicals, additives but rich in spices and herbs. We have planned a strong special menu through food service innovation which includes faster, better sanitation, temperature control, and offerings that are enticing, accessible, exciting unique menu which includes a vegetarian diet and allergy-free menu options. Our meals are healthy but tastier.
In this economy, where prices of goods are drastically increasing by the day, how do you manage to draw the line to know how to put a price on your catering services?
The increase in the prices of goods is very critical and very challenging but the good thing about the increase in prices is that it is a general problem so, everybody is aware of this.
The prices of services are determined by the total cost of production, which includes the labour, utilities, transportation and10% of the total cost of the equipment used so, we automatically increase service charges if there is an increase in the prices of goods. But we are careful not to raise the price too much so that we can maintain good quality service.
We are also in business to make a profit, which is only the way to keep the business thriving. We source food ingredients directly from the local farmers, which makes it a bit cheaper. We also buy other raw materials from the bulk market. This has helped us not to increase the prices of our services 100%. It helps us to be flexible and affordable.
You have trained over 200 women in the catering business, how has that impact made Luffitastier grow?
Impacting over 200 women influenced my business to grow rapidly beyond my expectations. This is because as you are helping, lifting others, you are helping yourself as well.
Luffitastier is known for healthy organic food, would you say it’s capital intensive to produce special diet meals and beverages?
It is a myth that organic foods are capital intensive or expensive, compared to the value it’s going to add to a healthy lifestyle, definitely not as expensive as paying hospital bills.
It is not as expensive as the clothes and shoes we wear. Healthy food is one of the necessities of life.
However, getting a good source of supply helps reduce the cost of production.
The food industry sees a daily increase in the number of players. In what way does Luffitastier stand out?
We stand out by giving quality services, keeping good customer relationships, and giving good customer care, and giving tastier healthy meals and beverages with excellent packaging gives us leg up.
We give God all the accolades as He has always been helping us, lifting us above challenges. There has never been a challenge as much as the challenges of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which almost affected us 80% but here we are back stronger and better.
I started this business as a side hustle. I did not have basic equipment. I started by selling cake, so I use pot baking or steaming my cake. I’m a guru in using this method because my cake comes out perfect.
As my business started growing, I use my profit in building a local oven to increase production by 5% which I used for several years before sourcing funds from my immediate family. They have been very supportive.
How has Luffitastier managed to build a sustainable brand in the food industry?
Building a sustainable business involves being consistent, learning, unlearning and relearning, building good relationships, and moving with people with like minds.
We set reasonable measurable goals. Focus on value proposition and growth and implement strategies.
What impact do you see Luffitastier making in the food industry in the next five years?
Luffitastier hopes to open one of the best healthy lifestyle restaurants based on individual health needs and training more people to cook healthy so healthy meals can be accessible and affordable to everyone.
Health is wealth as God wishes us above all things that we prosper and be in health even as our soul prospers.