Getting a product on the shelves of the organic and fair-trade friendly supermarket chain Whole Foods is the dream of many companies worldwide.
The U.S.-based chain specializes in organic food, with 430-plus locations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. It’s no surprise that many businesses aim to get their product on the shelves of this mega-chain. But Whole foods, which carries a significant amount of fair trade products, chooses its manufacturers carefully.
Whole Foods consumers are conscious consumers, driven not by low prices but by the quality and ethics behind their purchases. Whole Food charges more for many products than other supermarkets, particularly for produce.
An avocado or bell pepper can cost nearly twice what competitors charge. Whole Foods shoppers are looking for unique taste and companies that care.
Whole Foods must turn to food manufacturers to do that, and several African companies fit the bill. Getting a product on Whole Foods shelves is a dream for many companies. These African brands got it done. Here are 8 African products you can find in Whole Foods stores.
Kitchens of Africa arose from creator Jainaba Jeng’s craving for her childhood foods, and her struggle to find them in her neighborhood in Raleigh, North Carolina. Kitchens of Africa makes maffé, a peanut simmer sauce; yassa, an onion simmer sauce and a new line of African jerk pastes, according to Wholefoodsmarkets.com.
Saffron Road is a halal food brand that claims to make food sustainably farmed, authentic, antibiotic free, and 100-percent vegetarian fed, all harvested on family owned farms. It’s inspired mainly by the North African and Horn countries including Egypt, Somalia and Morocco. One of its products is a Moroccan tagine simmer sauce made with tamarind and turmeric. You can see all their products on Saffronroadfood.com.
Various Whole Foods locations have a wine bar and offer food-and-wine pairings in store, or suggestions online. From time to time you can find a lineup of food pairings with South African wines such as tuna kabobs and mango peach salsa with sauvignon blanc from Indaba, according to Wholefoodsmarket.com.
You can purchase Alaffia Authentic African Black Soap in person at select locations, as well as online at Wholefoodsmarket.com. The product is made from African mint, palm kernel oil, shea butter and other ingredients. The company, which originated in Togo, works in African communities to alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality, and has ongoing projects that address maternal health and education, according to Alaffia.com.
Taste of Ethiopia is a catering and delivery service based in Harlem, New York, that works with select Whole Foods markets. Founder Hiyaw Gebreyohannes was born in Djibouti and ran an African fusion restaurant before starting Taste of Ethiopia, according to NYDailyNews.com. Through the Whole Foods website, you can order items like doro wet chicken stew to be delivered within an hour to some New York locations.
Divine dark chocolate eggs are made from fair trade cocoa from the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in Ghana. Kuapa Kokoo is made up of several cocoa farmers who got together to “manage the selling process more efficiently than the government coca agents,” according to their website Divinechocolate.com. Each piece of chocolate is individually wrapped in gold foil printed with traditional West African adinkra symbols, according to Wholefoodsmarket.com.
Another product from the socially conscious Alaffia brand, rooibos & shea antioxidant face cream is available at select Whole Foods locations and on the company website. The cream is made with the African superfood rooibos, which has skin healthy alpha hydroxy acid and zinc, according to Oragnicfacts.net. It also boasts African wild honey and virgin coconut oil, according to Wholefoodsmarket.com.
The L.I.F.E label stands for livelihood, invest, future, and empower. At several Whole Foods locations, consumers who purchase a cup of Allegro coffee — a company that sources some of its beans from Africa — can also buy a $1 reusable coffee sleeve made by the brand. The sleeves are handmade by Kenyan mothers. Profits from the sleeves go directly to a nonprofit called Comfort the Children International, a group that works to empower Kenyan mothers to earn a living and ensure a sound education for their children, according to Wholefoodsmarket.com.