81. Ujamaa Spice

Ujaama Spice is putting the heat on spice supply chains with its line of traceable and ethically sourced spices and chai from Zanzibar.

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Startups 100 2024 NOMINEE
Just Started Award Shortlisted

For the company which, despite being in business for only one year, has already demonstrated impressive growth, success, or disruption in its field.

Startups 100: Just Started Award

Founders: Jawahir Al-Mauly and Rist Van de Weyer
Year founded: 2022
Website: ujamaaspice.com

From the spice-scented island of Zanzibar to your own pantry, by way of Scotland. That’s the journey Ujamaa Spice wants to take your tastebuds on, with its range of craft spices to light up your taste buds.

This Scottish-based company approaches cinnamon, cardamom and chai with the kind of language we’ve long become accustomed to when it comes to coffee beans. It sources and sells single-origin, ethical, and traceable spices directly from farmers, prioritising fair pay and supply-chain transparency. 

The business was founded in 2022 by Jawahir Al-Mauly and Rist Van de Weyer, who were inspired after uncovering a trifecta of pressing issues within the spice industry. These were a prevalence of low-quality spices, lacking the flavours that taste connoisseurs demand; criminal activities involving the addition of fillers and adulterants to spices; and last but not least, the economic plight of farmers in the spice-producing regions.

Ujamaa Spice is committed to addressing all three of these issues. It does this by sourcing its products directly from farmers who’ve been chosen for the known quality of their produce. In return, Ujamaa Spice provides them with fair compensation, and UK purchasers get to enjoy pure, unadulterated spices that will knock the socks off the muted flavours of lower-cost spices.

The business focuses on ethical and sustainable sourcing, as well as its transparent supply chain. It’s the only UK spice company that sources directly from farmers, without the use of wholesalers.

There’s certainly a premium to be paid for Ujamaa Spice's products. But, the business has a target audience in its sights that prioritises the all-important taste of their ingredients, as well as their origin and fair trade practices.

From a completely bootstrapped funding position, the company has established key partnerships and collaborations with a range of restaurants, cafes, organic grocers and sustainability organisations.

Its products have already picked up a Great Taste Award for 2023. And, while the founders welcome such recognition, they say their greatest achievement to date has been purchasing the entire harvest from two women farmers in Zanzibar. This was a moment that symbolised its company mission to fairly compensate workers and uplift their lives. 

Ujamaa Spice's ambitions are growing. It has its eyes set on becoming the leading ethical and sustainable spice company in the UK. For now, we’ve had a sizzling taste of this business’s potential. 

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