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2019 CN’s Top 100 Emerging SMEs: Cato Foods

Cato Foods is an emerging Nigerian food production company that utilizes technology for the mass processing, packaging, and supply of edible commodities. The company aims to bolster the living standards of consumers especially those at the lower rung of society, by providing inventive, nourishing but inexpensive food products.


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One of its main goals is to drive down malnutrition and hunger levels among children and minimize ills associated with them– stunted growth, infant mortality, and poor vision. It’s doing this by targeting children under the age of 5 with its bio-fortified agricultural products. The company’s products also serve pregnant women, who need proper nutrition to lessen the chance of succumbing to maternal mortality.

Cato Foods converts yellow cassava enriched with Vitamin A into a host of products including odour free fufu powder, Vitamin A garri, top-rated cassava flour for confectioneries, sugarless snacks, and custard. Cato Foods custard powder brand-named “Casstard”, is the first cassava-based custard made for commercial use in the world. It consists of different types that are fortified in vitamins A and C.

Besides the production-related activity, Cato Foods are also engaged in various developmental initiatives within their host communities. This involves creating a means of livelihood and food security for women and youths through the cultivation of agricultural produce. For this purpose, Cato Foods has gained access to farmland spanning 3000 acres where out-grower farmers have been commissioned with the task of high-quality cassava cultivation.

Since embarking on the out-grower cassava cultivation program, Cato Foods has produced Pro-Vitamin A cassava amounting to more than 2500 tons. These have been converted into 4 product lines by the company. They have also amassed funding totaling over $50,000 in grants.


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Pelumi Aribisala and Atinuke Lebile are the co-founders of Cato Foods. Pelumi Aribisala, an avid entrepreneur, has a degree in Microbiology from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He has been a player in the agribusiness industry for over a decade. Mr. Aribisala has been a vocal advocate for the industry and has mentored hundreds of youths in successfully piloting their own agricultural and agro-allied business.

Atinuke Lebile gained her degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Ilorin. She also earned certification in Business and Entrepreneurship from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, in the USA, and Enterprise Management from the Enterprise Development Center, Lagos Business School, Nigeria. Ms. Lebile is passionate about proffering solutions to malnutrition and food shortage via agriculture and agro-allied enterprise.  

Cato Foods has received a lot of plaudits for the work they do. They have recently been named one of Connect Nigeria’s Top 100 SMEs. Cato Foods have also been named among the top 10 nutrition-focused start-ups in Nigeria by Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network. The company was a biofortification ambassador for the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition in 2018 and HarvestPlus in 2019.  

Email: info@catofoods.com


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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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