West African cuisine has gained new popularity over the last few years due to the rise of prominent high-profile restaurants turning up in major cities across the country. A couple based in Chicago went ahead and took a step further by creating a new line of frozen West African meals available at Whole Foods.
Perteet and Fred Spencer are the owners of AYO Foods, a small food brand company specializing in traditional West African cuisine. The couple wanted to create a brand that represented the important connection between excellent homemade recipes and family bonding.
“Our home has always been a gathering point for friends and family because we love the joy that is born out of those special moments together,” said Perteet and Fred Spencer in an email interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“None of these moments happen without a great meal. As we thought about building a business together, nothing inspired us more than using our strong industry experiences to create these moments for others by sharing some of our family’s favorite recipes that were under-represented in mainstream grocery stores.”
The frozen meals are available in select Whole Foods locations in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma in addition to the Chicago-based grocery store, Green Grocer. The couple hopes that the meals will open more Americans up to trying food from West African countries seeing the great reception their brand has received.
“We’ve watched the explosive growth of frozen as more and more premium items transform freezer doors across America,” they added. “In many instances, the source of that growth is ethnic food as people look to explore the world one bite at a time. Frozen was a natural fit as an easy way for people to experience the flavors of West Africa.”