Food Entrepreneur
WASHINGTON — Snack brand Amazi is rolling out redesigned packaging and a new product offering developed in partnership with Berkeley, Calif.-based Kuli Kuli Foods.

Amazi partners directly with farmers and small businesses in Uganda to produce its line of snacks, supporting economic development in one of the world’s poorest nations while tapping into its flavorful bounty of tropical fruits. The brand’s line of chewy jackfruit bites and plantain chips are sold in more than 800 grocery stores in the United States, including Sprouts Farmers Market, Giant, The Fresh Market, Ralph’s and Wegmans, as well as major airports across the country.

The newest addition is dried pineapple sprinkled with hibiscus and moringa supplied by Kuli Kuli, a brand similarly committed to building equitable and sustainable supply chains in Africa. The product is set to debut at Sprouts stores nationwide.

For Amazi, pineapple represents an opportunity to introduce a more familiar product to American consumers while expanding its impact and footprint in Uganda, said Renee Dunn, founder and chief executive officer.

“Our approach was to take a more accessible fruit but pair it with seasonings that we feel are more unique and also are grown in the region,” she said. “I do think our pineapple is head and shoulders above other pineapple I’ve tried… The fruit in that sub-Saharan and tropical equatorial environment is super flavorful… juicy and chewy, not tart or tough.”

The new packaging, which Ms. Dunn described as “bold and vibrant,” will begin appearing on shelves in the coming months.

“We are trying to do a better job conveying as quickly as possible in a fun, poppy way what the product is and then on the back of the bag continuing to focus on the storytelling aspect,” Ms. Dunn said.

The company also is phasing out two plantain chip products, which Ms. Dunn described as a “merchandising difficulty.”

“We think there’s more room for innovation and potentially more clear cohesion across the brand line for superfood-packed dried fruits,” she said. “We will keep innovating in the chewy dried fruit space.”

Amazi has created more than 170 jobs in the past three years partnering with Ugandan suppliers. Employees earn at least twice the local wages, plus benefits. Farmers last year earned up to 68% over market price for their fruit. Roughly two-thirds of the company’s farmer partners and production staff are female. 

Enjoying this content? Learn about more disruptive startups on the Food Entrepreneur page.