Thriving business of Kunu, Ginger, Zobo drink in Nigerian markets


Kunu, Ginger and Zobo drinks business are lucrative in Nigeria today either packaging or reselling . Apart from the nutritional benefits and readily available in the market, it is very easy to set up depending on location and how one wants to operate it. ADEOLA TUKURU reports. 

For its smallness, sellers are often found at street corners while some put theirs in carts and push from street to street. Yet, there are some entrepreneurs that have moved the trade a bit higher, selling these drinks online, at Banks, Hospitals, Mini marts etc. 

Kunu is a local drink made from millet while zobo is a drink made from roselle leaves.

Tiger nuts drink is also known as kunun aya. It is a very nourishing and refreshing drink. Kunun aya business is as lucrative as zobo drink business if not more.

One unique thing about selling Kunu and other drinks is that the business can be run from one’s home on full time or on part-time basis depending on choice and clients. 

Operating at this level, sellers target the highbrow areas, where people appreciate the drinks.

On like before, where selling of Kunu, Ginger and Zobo drinks were solely left with the itinerant sellers, shopping malls such as Shoprite, H-medix and other stores are springing up in their numbers in different parts of the country, especially in highbrow areas of most big cities also showcase these drinks . 

Location of business 

Mrs Anita Bells who hails from Kaduna state explained to Business Starter that one may choose to be stationed at a location for buyers to come to you, while the itinerant sellers move from place to place seeking for buyers. 

With advancement in technology, which has made mobility and commerce easier, these drinks which are limited to certain locations and geography could now be sold in any locality. 

Profits in business 

The 43-year-old businesswoman, while recounting to Business Starter said she was making an average of N55,000 monthly from selling Kunu, ginger and zobo drinks.

How she started the business 

She recalled how she started the business in 2017 with N2,000 only but expanded her business this year with a N40,000 loan she received from the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

“I now sell other soft drinks with my kunu and zobo, I make an average sale of N4,000 daily even though, I don’t have a shop yet.

“As you can see, customers are coming to my stand to get a drink because of the busy area; so the business is less stressful,” she said.

She said she had been able to pay her bills and helped her family through the business.

She lauded NDE for the support accorded small businesses and expressed the hope of getting a shop one day with the assistance of the directorate.

She called on women to desist from staying idle and start a business no matter how little, as according to her, success is a gradual process.

The potentials of Kunu drinks 

A study was conducted to evaluate the potential of combined processes of pasteurization and a chemical (sodium benzoate) for the preservation of kunun-zaki under ambient and refrigerated storage conditions. In the traditional preparation of kunun-zaki, spices proportion influenced the acceptability of the food product. 

Studies on the pH and the microbiological changes during the storage of preserved kunun-zaki at both storage conditions indicated that products under refrigeration temperature exhibited a more fairly stable pH (4.5 to 4.9) throughout the 21 day storage period. 

The kunun-zaki under room temperature storage had higher microbial loads with the appearance of coliforms and yeast and moulds on the 10th day. However, the appearance of these organisms were not found in products under refrigerated storage. Sensory evaluation test indicated that kunun-zaki under refrigeration temperature storage was still acceptable to the consumers, even up to the 21st day. 

This study revealed a new possibility for the improvement of the shelflife of kunun-zaki (usually 24-36 h), without affecting its organoleptic properties for three weeks or more, with combined processes of pasteurization and additive such as sodium benzoate.

The history of Kunu drink 

This is not a new drink but has been there for ages. Due to recent increase in awareness it is now becoming very popular. Kunun aya is produced from a mixture of ground tiger nuts (also known as earth almond), dates and coconut water.

They are not only found in Nigeria but are seen in other countries either as grass or nuts. They are eaten as nut in North Africa and as chufa drink in Spain. In Nigeria, they are consumed both as drinks and as nuts.

Different tribes have different names for it. They seeds are called Aya in Hausa land, Yoruba’s calls it ofio, Igbos refer to it as Imumu, in Calabar Isip Isong. 

Tiger nuts are not actually nuts in the real sense but tubers, they share the same chemical composition and characteristics with tubers and nuts.

The chaffs gotten when processing the drink can be dried and used in making gluten-free flour for baking or used as additional fibre when making smoothies (pap, cereals etc)

Ingredients for Kunu Aya drinks 

Tiger nuts on its own has several benefits but we shall be looking at how to combine other nuts to make it more nutritious and beneficial to health as well.Ingredients/materials for tiger nuts drink (kunu Aya).

·         Aya (Tiger nut)

·         Debino (Dates)

·         Coconut (optional)

·         Chiffon  (for sieving)

·         Water, bowl, grinder and container


Soak Aya in water for about an hour or overnight as the case maybe, pour them inside mortar and rub it a little with pestle the way you will do beans in other to remove any available dirt. Break the dates into pieces and soak them inside water to make them soft.

Break the coconut and cut them into smaller sizes. Wash everything out of the water very well, put all of them together into a big bowl and grind them with grinding machine, you can use commercial grinders if you don’t have one. It is not advisable to use blender except you want to condemn it.