Our Story - An Exchange of Riches – African Kingdom Superfoods

Our Story - An Exchange of Riches

I'm Jamie MacAlister, Founder of African Kingdom Superfoods.

We are an importer of healthy plant-based value-added food products from Africa.  Our mission is to help create fairly-paid jobs amongst a fast-growing young African population by at the same time promoting the tasty healthy tropical plant products that they send to us here in the UK.

We believe, alongside other experts, that charitable work, while it has its place, is not a sustainable solution to tackling the poverty and environmental needs in Africa.  To refer to Harvard Professor, Michael Porter (TED talk June 2013), business and trade, when done responsibly, is best placed to solve these kinds of social problems, because by making and re-investing profit, it can create the resources needed to really tackle these issues on a sustainable basis.

When my wife and I went to live in Africa a few years ago, two things became clear to me: 1. Aid and hand-outs were not really helping fix poverty for lots of reasons; and 2.  Africa has so much to offer the rest of the world, both in its people and its resources. This is not a one-way deal!  There is a fair exchange to be made. 

But “fair” is a key point. Yes the world does recognise the richness of Africa’s natural resources: raw materials like cocoa and coffee, minerals etc.  But the world trades with Africa at the expense of its local population. Just one example: one industry alone, chocolate generates around $130 billion in global sales. The African producers of the main ingredient, cacao, receive less than 6% of that. 80% of cacao farmers in Cote d’Ivoire, the country which is the biggest supplier to the industry, earn less than $1 per day.

How do we fix that?  We can try and regulate to increase the price paid to farmers, as the “fair trade” movement has done. That takes you some way down the road.  Our approach is different.  We work with suppliers to add value, through processing, and retail packing in Africa creating wealth and jobs there.

We have started our mission with Sunshine Nut cashews from Mozambique, one of the poorest and most troubled countries in the world. We can make a real impact by trading with Mozambique, while also benefiting amazingly from a particularly high quality, tasty and healthy product.

Because Sunshine Nut Co process and retail pack the cashew nuts in Mozambique working with the local farmers, to ship them direct to Europe,  they are not only creating local jobs and supporting communities, but the nuts are particularly fresh and crunchy.  This is in contrast to most African cashew nuts which get shipped to the Far East for processing before finding their way back to Europe.

We set up this e-commerce site where we now have residential customers who buy direct by the box. We are also promoting our product for listing in independent retailers around the UK: delicatessens, food halls and health shops as well as hospitality outlets such as pubs, clubs and coffee houses.  Those outlets where our products are currently listed include:

Retailers in Colchester (my home town)The Natural Health Shop (Sir Isaac's Walk);  Guntons (Crouch St);  Choice Foods Afro-Caribbean (Queen St); The Wholefood Store (Manningtree); Poplar Nurseries (Marks Tey)

Hospitality in Colchester: Loofers (Culver Street West); The Colchester Officers Club; Pippin at Stoke-by-Nayland Resort;  The Black Buoy Pub, Wivenhoe; The Grapes pub and the Silver Oyster pub; The King's Head, Pebmarsh.

New retailers elsewhere in the UK: London - The Health Shop (E11), Jones of Brockley (SE4); Picnic Fayre (Holt - NR25); Lulu's Kitchen (Cheadle SK81); Positive Health & Nutrition (Stockport SK6); Corbridge Larder (NE45)

Apart from this site, we are also selling online at: https://www.wearefairtrade.com/collections/fruits-nuts

John Parker Wilson, owner of The Natural Health Shop in Colchester, says: "At The Natural Health Shop we are supporting The Sunshine Nut Co. We believe in the ethical principles which give support to local producers in Mozambique. And the cashew nuts are delicious by the way" 

I work alongside two great Co-Directors,  David Steinegger and Lindsay Hassall, who support me and hold me to account.

And we have just started distribution through our 3PL warehouse operation at We Prep, Stowmarket in Suffolk.

Please join us on this journey. We are now selling Sunshine Nut cashews from Mozambique and Entuntunu dried cape gooseberries from Uganda. You can also see other products we are planning to import and promote on this website.