This week on the Gooder Podcast I had the pleasure of talking with Perteet Spencer, the co-founder of AYO Foods. Using her spidey SPINS senses and her desire to create a brand that celebrates the ingredients, flavors, and culture of the West African diaspora, Perteet takes us on her journey of transition and joy. Along the way we learn how her Liberian upbringing and heritage inspires her new venture and how this cultural view naturally embraces a more inclusive food production system.
In this episode we learn:
- A little background about her brand AYO Foods.
- Why Perteet thinks North American consumers are ready for African flavors, textures, and ingredients
- What food trends shape AYO Foods innovation.
- Why she thinks Chicago has become THE place to watch for food innovation.
- How to use data as an indicator, and not simply validation, to uncover new innovation platforms and opportunities.
- Pereet’s thoughts on how to shrink pre-production food waste through product and manufacturing innovation.
About Pereet Spencer:
Perteet is thrilled to be able to bring all of her passions into her role as co-founder of AYO Foods. Seeking to build a more inclusive food system that reflected her experience growing up in a Liberian family, Perteet launched AYO with her husband Fred last summer with the vision of creating a platform brand that celebrated the ingredients, flavors, and culture of the West African diaspora.
Prior launching AYO, Perteet held brand, sales, and consulting leadership roles at LEGO, General Mills, and SPINS.
When she’s not actively working on AYO, you can usually find Perteet spending time in the kitchen with her two girls or advancing the issues of food equity through her involvement in the Food Recovery Network, a non-profit focused on eliminating food insecurity through food waste recovery.
Guests Social Media Links:
Moonboi Project - In Kpelle, “Moonboi” means prosperity. At AYO Foods, we believe that we have a personal responsibility to enrich the communities that inspired our products.
General Mills, Inc. - is an American multinational manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods sold through retail stores. It is headquartered in Golden Valley, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis.
SPINS - transforms trillions of retailer data into performance solutions to accelerate growth, and deepen loyalty with shoppers.
Food Recovery Network - a nonprofit focused on eliminating food insecurity through food waste recovery.
Whole Foods Market, Inc. - is an American multinational supermarket chain headquartered in Austin, Texas, which sells products free from hydrogenated fats and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. A USDA Certified Organic grocer in the United States, the chain is popularly known for its organic selections.
Girl Power Africa - an organization that was founded a few years back, really in service of women who were victims of civil war and are trying to get back on their feet in Liberia.
Imperfect Foods - Shop affordable groceries and exclusive items that went from unwanted to wish for. Reducing food and retail product waste, one household at a time.
PepsiCo - is an American multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation headquartered in Harrison, New York, in the hamlet of Purchase. PepsiCo has interests in the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of grain-based snack foods, beverages, and other products.
Betty Crocker - is a brand and fictional character used in advertising campaigns for food and recipes. The character was originally created by the Washburn-Crosby Company in 1921 following a contest in the Saturday Evening Post.
Lego - is a Danish toy production company based in Billund. It is best known for the manufacture of Lego-brand toys, consisting mostly of interlocking plastic bricks. The Lego Group has also built several amusement parks around the world, each known as Legoland, and operates numerous retail stores.