SOMOS debuts 'real' Mexican food to US consumers

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Photo Credit: Somos
Photo Credit: Somos

Related tags Mexican cuisine

Most Americans' idea of Mexican cuisine is limited to cheese quesadillas, greasy nachos, and overstuffed burritos, argue the founders of a new brand called SOMOS ('we are' in Spanish), which is challenging this common consumer perception with its line of authentic 'mix and match' rices, beans, salsas, and plant-based entrées.

Started by three KIND Snacks alumni, including KIND founder Daniel Lubetzky, who all grew up in Mexico, SOMOS is seeking to transform the Mexican food section of grocery stores nationwide.

"We felt like the food that was on the shelf was not representative of the food that we grew up with at home,"​ co-founder and CEO Miguel Leal told FoodNavigator-USA.

“Until now, Americans have had to dine out to enjoy a real Mexican meal. At home, options have been limited to foods that don’t actually exist in Mexico, like fluorescent molded hard-shell yellow corn tortillas. SOMOS was created using inspiration from family recipes that have been passed down through generations and will introduce people to true Mexican cocina staples,"​ said Lubetzky, founder & executive chairman of SOMOS.

'SOMOS is a homage to the early Mexican cuisine'

According to Leal, most of the Mexican cuisine Americans are familiar are Tex-Mex and Cal-Mex styles of cooking, which typically use a lot of dairy and animal protein ingredients.

"If you go all the way back to pre-colonial times, Mexican food was not very heavy on beef and not very heavy on animal protein in general. In a way, SOMOS is a homage to the early Mexican cuisine,"​ Leal said.

"We also wanted to have a strong juxtaposition to the way that Mexican food is portrayed in the market. A lot of times the image that consumers have of Mexican foods, especially from center store shelves, is food that is very heavy in cream, cheese, and meat,"​ he added.

"But that is not the way that Daniel and I grew up eating, it is actually quite the contrary, the food that we grew up eating was very light and healthy made with clean ingredients. We wanted more than anything to celebrate the food that our moms and families made at home."

'We're exploring ways to make SOMOS a platform brand'

SOMOS's portfolio reflects that same authentic approach to cooking with its line of plant-based products made in Mexico with ingredients sourced from Mexican family farms.

Designed for consumers to "mix and match"​ and prepare in under 10-minutes thanks to microwaveable pouches (except for its jarred salsas), SOMOS' product line includes two rice products (Mexican Brown Rice made with tomatoes and variety peppers and Cilantro Lime White Rice); Mexican Black Beans and Spicy Refried Beans; and plant-base entrées including Smoky Chipotle mushrooms, Cauliflower Tinga, Mexican Pea-Cadillo, and Pea-Cadillo in Salsa Verde.

The brand also sells "unusually thick and crunchy"​ stone-ground tortilla chips and a variety of salsas for consumers to complete their Mexican meal, which will be the first products available through the brand's direct-to-consumer site. 

SOMOS plans to enter retail stores nationwide with its full line of products in early 2022 and is partnering with several leaders outside the CPG industry to raise brand awareness for SOMOS and its authentic Mexican cuisine offering.

"We're exploring ways to make SOMOS a platform brand where emerging chefs, emerging artists, social entrepreneurs can come in and share their talents to the world,"​ Leal said. 

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