"I noticed there was a void in the US market for a really authentic but modern Moroccan, Mediterranean food brand, and Mina was born," Kallamni said. "Our mission is to make more meals, more Moroccan. And everything we make from our harissa to our shakshuka sauce ... to our ready-to-eat vegan meals are all based on my mother's family recipes that have been handed down through generations."
Demand for global flavors grows, as Mina expands into Whole Foods
Over the last decade, the demand for global flavors has "hit an all-time" as consumers look for products that reflect their heritage and upbringings and provide them with new flavor experiences, Kallamni said.
“Global flavors has been a hot space in food for the last ... 10 years, and it's continuing to see double-digit growth every year. And I feel like consumers want authentic, fresh, creative foods with amazing flavors. And where else are you going to get that other than global cuisines -- whether it be Indian or Asian or Moroccan or West African or Caribbean?”
Many consumers tried new products and became familiar with different global cuisines during the pandemic, using food to celebrate diverse cultures and cuisines in lieu of traveling, Kallamni said.
Retailers like Whole Foods, which now offers Mina's Moroccan lentil, chickpea, and white bean stews products, also provide opportunities for global flavor CPG brands, he added.
“Traditionally in the US, that international or global flavors category has always been only Indian and Asian, but ... over the years with pioneers like Whole Foods who have led with innovation on different parts of the globe, now you're seeing Filipino, now you're seeing Moroccan, now you're seeing West African, and now you're seeing Caribbean, so it's really diversified.”
Are on-the-go olives the next big better-for-you snack?
As Mina looks to grow its business, it is looking for opportunities to expand into the better-for-you snack category, and it might have an opening with an unlikely snack item, Kallamni said.
"Snacks are at an all-time high. Everybody's looking for a snack; everybody's on the go, but there's not so many healthy snacks out there,” Kallamni said. “But olives are really healthy, and technically it's a snack. You can take ... a jar out of your refrigerator, open it, [and] finish the whole jar. But you can't take a glass jar with brine with you on the road, so literally, it's a snack at home. So, we wanted to offer that same delicious healthy experience on the go.”
Mina isn't the only brand that has looked at making olives a go-to on-the-go snack. Brands like Pearls and Lindsay offer olives in a single serving fruit cup, while brands like Oloves offer a range of snackable olives in Lemon & Rosemary, Basil & Garlic, Chili & Oregano, and Chili & Garlic flavors.
Preparing for global expansion with new facility
With the Whole Food distribution rolling out now, Mina is taking its next steps to grow its business by opening a new production facility in Morrocco, which will allow it to expand into other countries outside of the US and Canada, Kallamni said.
“Our goal for this year is to really have a successful launch at Whole Foods, build our brand there, and make sure the line does really well, which will open up more doors for more Mina products to have distribution there. And we're also in the process of building a new facility in Morocco where we're going to be able to produce our products and be vertically integrated.”