A Bite of East Africa

May 02nd 2018

A Bite of East Africa

It’s no surprise we’re seeing more and more Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants opening in Canada. As of the 2011 Census, there were over 30,000 Ethiopians living in Canada, more than twice the number recorded in 1996.

Not only does this reflect our multicultural society, it’s also both catering to and fuelling a desire for authentic new international flavour experiences. Couple this with foodie content available 24/7 on social media, and not only are consumers excited about trying new food, they also know what’s authentic, and what isn’t.

Here’s what’s behind the big tastes of East Africa

The common thread behind authentic East African cuisine is mind-blowing spice blends. The legendary markets of Zanzibar, Dar Es Salaam, and Addis Ababa display rainbows of beautiful spices, and they are what brings the local cuisine to life.

Used individually, or mixed into blends like berbere, mitmita, and pilau masala, spices are at the fore of every dish. Some of the most prevalent are:

  • Paprika

  • Cinnamon

  • Coriander

  • Ginger

  • Allspice

  • Cardamom

  • Red pepper

These are all seriously flavour-forward ingredients, and most aren’t ones we use often in western cuisine. It’s easy to see why consumers looking for a break from the ordinary are drawn to East African flavours!

Where does your company fit into the mix?

Millennials, who are culinary explorers, love to dine out. However, they recognize the financial burden, and 36% feel guilty about ordering in or eating out as often as they do. There is an opportunity to create new products, or re-formulate existing ones, to capitalize.

Stews and soups are popular in East Africa, and they lend themselves well to ready-made formulations. The same goes for compact, portable items like meat skewers. There’s also great opportunity here to tap into the expanding vegetarian and vegan markets with highly seasoned plant-based products.

Looking to boost your snack product sales? Consumers are in love with spicy bites flavoured with chipotle and jalapeños, so why not a mitmita corn chip, or berbere popcorn? Or, maybe the time is ripe for Mandazi, the coconut milk-based Tanzanian spiced donuts, to take on the dessert market.

No matter your route, the journey begins by choosing the right ingredients. With our worldwide network of farmers and suppliers, we can help you create your signature flavour with the best of the basics, or premium-sourced organics for clean label cachet.