My peers and I, like 78% of Kenyans, enjoy snacking. But every time we snacked, my friends, unlike me, who is naturally petite, worried about weight gain. We all know the social insecurities of weight gain, including the risk factors for non-communicable diseases. So my friends promised to stick to an exercise regime. Of course, which they did not adhere to. Does this sound familiar?
Feeling guilty, we decided to cut down on snacking. We started to study snack labels. Unfortunately, most brands did not tell us how highly processed the snacks were. We could not even read some of the ingredients on the snack labels, let alone pronounce them. Remember, we are food nutrition professionals. An incredibly misleading vitamins section, and hell yes, tracking those calories, protein, and fat takes the fun out of snacking.
I was haunted by the words of the Burkina Faso revolutionary Leader on Food Sovereignty. Indeed some of the ingredients in the snacks travel hundreds of miles as we do when we choose to go on vacation. The highly processed snacks fuel the triple burden of diseases and malnutrition. The food and carbon miles only aggravate the climate injustices that Africa is already facing.
These thoughts revived my lost childhood love for my granny’s delicious porridge and ugali, which came in shades of brown. I had sat at her dinner table several times. But tonight, in retrospect, I realized her dinner table was missing out on those delicacies. She, too, was becoming modernized.
Today, Millenials do not enjoy sorghum millet or amaranth in the form of ugali and porridge. They barely know these grains, and those who know them consider them food for the poor.
It is against this backdrop that iPoP Africa, an agribusiness startup, was founded. The enterprise is reclaiming the sovereignty of these climate-smart grains. It transforms the grains into modern snack products that enable our consumers to enjoy snacking without compromising affordability, convenience, fashion-ability, and health and nutrition gains.
At iPoP Africa, you will find all kinds of popped grains snacks, from yellow indigenous maize, millet (Pearl and finger millet), sorghum (The red and white sorghum), and brown rice. We pride ourselves in a short ingredient list that you can easily pronounce, 100% plant-based ingredients sourced among farmers locally in Kenya.
We have also started a one snack, one tree initiative, whereby we plant a tree every time you snack with us. Our goal is to turn every snacking moment into an act of mitigating and adapting to climate change. At the same time, we are promoting sustainable and resilient food systems and improving a smallholder farmer’s income in the indigenous grains value chain.
Join iPoP Africa today as we endeavor to snack on what we can control. Snack Africa, Snack Greener, and Healthier and Snack Guilt-Free!
Dorah Kwamboka is Food Scientist and Nutritionist