My long-awaited first post! Super excited (and slightly nervous) about this as it’s taken me a little while to get this going since I’m still juggling being a cook, driver, butt wiper and everything else that involves being a stay-at-home-mum.
I’m a huge supporter of local businesses and proud to buy ‘Made in Ghana’ goods so I was thrilled to hear about a funky new ‘Made in Ghana’ product that’s hit the shops and feature it as my first post on Ai ❤️ Food. Sankofa Snack Foods Limited has put out a range of flavoured plantain chips and as you can see from the photo above, they aren’t the ordinary clear plastic packaged chips you see being sold by the roadside sellers. How classy is the packaging?
Plantain chips are probably the easiest and cheapest snacks to get a hold of in Ghana. There have been days when I just have not had the time to stop and have a meal, so it’s super handy to have the roadside plantain chips seller to shop from. It’s an instant energy boost and satisfies my hunger until I can sit down and have a feed!
For those of you tuning in from overseas, and unfamiliar with plantain, they’re a close relative to bananas and contain a lot of the same nutrients with some bonus extras. Some of the benefits include them being high in potassium (good for the ❤️), a source of dietary fibre and high in antioxidants. If you’re interested in the other health benefits of plantains, Healthline and Dr. Axe have published very detailed articles all about them. Plantains are also highly versatile and can be eaten in their unripe and ripened form. When unripe, it’s more starchy and like a potato, can be eaten as a side dish. When ripe, the starches have developed and are sweet similar to bananas.
FDA (Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana) certified, Sankofa’s plantain chips are made from both unripe and ripe plantains. Unripe or green plantains are used for the lightly salted, spicy sweet chilli and chicken with ginger and garlic flavoured chips. Ripe or yellow plantains are used for their sweet cinnamon and smoked chilli beef flavoured chips.
Jamie Saleeby, the General Manager of Sankofa Snack Foods Limited is the brainchild behind the brand wanting to showcase the magic in the Ghanaian culture. He wanted “to do something that brings our culture or tradition on our journey through modernity and to show that it doesn’t have to be alien”.
A fellow foodie, Jamie naturally wanted to begin his business showcasing a food product and present it in a form that could compete on any world class stage. Their commitment to using natural ingredients is especially welcomed particularly when we are in the times when you cannot understand the bulk of the ingredients list on food packaging.
Focusing and perfecting the art of making plantain chips first, their long-term vision for the company is to “take traditional snacking ingredient bases and evolve or elevate them using food innovation, while providing rich and relevant brand engagement”.
What I like hearing the most about Ghanaian companies, is the part they’re playing to helping Ghana grow as an economy and a country on the world stage. Sankofa Snack Foods Limited sources their two main ingredients locally – plantains and frying oil. Their plantains are sourced from non-GMO farms across the country and they take the extra step of monitoring fertiliser levels and moisture content of the plantains to maintain their quality standards. Their flavour blends are sourced from overseas as they weren’t able to source plant based ingredients locally which are safer to consume. So if anyone wants a business idea, there’s one right there for you!
I was recently made aware that the hygiene of the plantain chips sold on the streets were questionable, so it was one of my first questions for Jamie who assures me that they have strict hygiene and quality practices for their employees. Employees are provided safety equipment and uniform at the factory. Their production stages also follow a rigorous routine. The plantains are washed, peeled, and washed again before slicing and frying. They don’t recycle the oil that’s used for frying too so each batch of chips are cooked in a fresh pool of oil to ensure quality isn’t compromised. Their equipment is cleaned daily with food grade antibacterial detergents. Impressive!
Now back to those chips.. I am definitely more of a savoury than sweet chick when it comes to plantain chips so it doesn’t surprise me that the savoury flavours are my favourites. The chips are light and crispy too, and they aren’t overly greasy or leave a greasy residue on your fingers. You taste the plantains and the flavours, not the horrible after taste of cooking oil.
What I really enjoyed was how they pair sweet plantain chips with a salty flavour (smoked chilli beef). Much like bacon and maple syrup, the flavours really do work so well together. Genius! What I found about the sweet plantain chip flavours were that they weren’t as crispy as the savoury ones. I believe it’s from the thickness of the chips itself as I found them cut slightly thicker than the savoury ones. I’ve never cooked plantain chips myself but I can assume it is probably because it’s harder to slice a ripe plantain as thin as an unripe one.
My favourite part about opening each pack of Sankofa chips, is the fortune you get in each packet!
This is definitely a company to watch, and I am excited to see what other flavours they have in store for us as well as other types of traditional Ghanaian snacks they’ll Sankofa-nise.
You can find their chips at all Second Cup stores, Zeno’s yoghurt bars and Cafe Kwae just to name a few. For more retailers, please contact Sankofa Snack Foods. These chips are literally flying off the shelves right now, so get yourself a packet and see what the fuss is all about yourself.
Follow Sankofa Snack Foods on Instagram!