Who knew the word, ‘mumpreneur’ was an official word? According to Collins Dictionary online, a mumpreneur is “a woman who combines running a business enterprise with looking after her children”.
It’s the first word that pops into my head when I think about MaryAnn Boaten, founder and CEO of Ghana Spice. MaryAnn and I are members of the same mother’s group, Mummy and Me, and I had no idea she was also running this side business as well as working a full-time role in marketing.
MaryAnn’s inspiration in getting started was her sweet baby boy. She was constantly exhausted when her little boy was a newborn and cooking became a real chore and something she had to squeeze in while her baby napped. Being a mama of two myself, I definitely know what this is like. I too try and get everything and anything done during those precious nap times! MaryAnn found that “most often than not he’d wake up before I was done and I didn’t like holding him right after I’d peeled ginger, garlic etc. I needed a faster way of cooking”. Having previously lived in the United Kingdom, she remembered that cooking was so much easier and less time consuming due to ingredients being available in a ready-to-use form. This sparked her idea for creating a ready to use spice mix, and she got to work.
Being a professional marketer, MaryAnn did her research and found other companies also offering similar products however, found gaps in the market. These gaps include pricing, presentation, customer service and delivery amongst others. She introduced Ghana Spice to address these gaps in the market.
Officially born on August 6th, 2017, Ghana Spice’s vision is to “make cooking delicious meals easier and effortless for all Ghanaians”. There are six products in their portfolio which includes ready-to-use ginger, garlic, fish seasoning, meat seasoning, chicken seasoning and kelewele seasoning. For those who aren’t familiar with Ghanaian cuisine, most dishes include a base of blended tomatoes, onions, ginger and garlic. Taking the hassle and time out of peeling ginger and garlic is a real game changer! I am a huge fan of ready to use ginger paste for example as I cannot stand peeling them. In Ghana they are smaller and are more ‘knobbly’ than the ginger you can find overseas, so peeling them are a bit of a pain. The meat seasonings pack a punch of flavour into soups, stews and rice dishes. My husband was a bit of a sceptic but since using the spices, he’s a huge fan. He now won’t cook without Ghana Spice! Oops, there goes his secret recipe.
So far, I’ve tried all the seasonings and love them all. The only seasoning I haven’t tried is the kelewele one. For those who don’t know, kelewele is a typical Ghanaian street snack and usually available only at night. Marinated ripe plantains are deep fried and served with groundnuts to make a very satisfying, hot and spicy snack. It goes really well washed down with an ice cold beer!
I asked MaryAnn what the Ghana Spice difference is to her competitors and she explains that Ghana Spice is “natural with no preservatives, additives, flavour enhancers or MSG. There are no secret ingredients hence you know exactly what you are consuming”. Each jar contains 350ml of spices and are priced at 10 Cedis a jar, which is very affordable. They provide free delivery within Accra, which is so great. All the products are made fresh, and have no preservatives, so it’s recommended to keep it frozen until needed. It easily defrosts for use in your dishes. There have been times when I’ve forgotten to take it out on time, and have just popped a jar in a bowl of warm water and it defrosted pretty quickly. All products have gone through rigorous testing and sampling to get to where they are and one thing I appreciate is that MaryAnn is really receptive to customer feedback, be it good or bad!
My favourite way to use Ghana Spice’s chicken seasoning is for a quick and simple Sunday roast chicken. All I do is rub the chicken with the chicken spice and salt, and let it marinade for several hours. The flavour is amazing, and having tried other seasonings, I have to say that Ghana Spice is the best one I’ve tasted so far.
I also appreciate knowing that all the ingredients are listed and I know exactly what we are eating. In the world of competition and imitations, I asked MaryAnn if she was concerned that listing all her ingredients would lead to competitors ‘matching’ her product. She responds by saying that “consumers should know exactly what they are consuming due to allergies, health reasons and general preference. The recipe can be a secret but the ingredients I believe must be listed. Facebook was an improvement of MySpace and hi5. Samsung and apple are constantly competing to develop top class handsets for consumers. I can’t imagine a world where there was only one choice of drink or even diapers. Imagine how much it will be sold for? Richard Branson is a personal inspiration. He doesn’t believe in monopoly. Our world is constantly evolving due to people learning from each other, creating competition and constantly improving. So to answer your question no I am not concerned about copying and will even encourage it. It will keep me on my toes and help me not to get complacent but most importantly the end consumer will be spoilt for choice”.
Spoken like a true marketer!
Ghana Spice have other products planned in the pipeline, so I’m eagerly waiting to see what they will be. If you want to try their current product range, get in touch with them via their Facebook or Instagram pages. They can also be contacted on +233 501 519 100.