NATURAL EXTRACT INDUSTRIES
On the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro, the Natural Extract Industries (NEI) headquarters lie. Their natural extracts are made in Tanzania, where they support more than a thousand small holder farmers and women’s groups. Using ethically sourced raw materials their natural extracts are free of sugars, thickeners or colouring and impart a genuine and complex flavour. The cacao powder and nibs are both sourced from cacao farms in the Mbeya region of southern Tanzania, which hosts one of Africa’s finest cocoa bean cooperatives.
Their story begins with several thousand smallholder farmers and women’s groups in Tanzania and a small, motivated and multi-talented team. Combining the botanical riches of Tanzania, well-known for its exceptional delicate and delicious fruit and spices with the skill and knowledge of local smallholders, the NEI team were able to work alongside these farmers to produce the highest quality ingredients. The possibility to do this lead to the NEI vision of being able to satisfy global demand for sustainably sourced natural flavours and ensure long-term socio-economic benefits for the local communities.
The Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania is made of a population who are 75% small-holder farmers. Due to Tanzania’s growing population, individual farm sizes are decreasing to the point where on average each farmer has less than a hectare of land from which to support a typical household of 5 members. Empowering these small-holder farmers through education, training and a market for their produce, NEI have been able to give them the opportunity to build sustainable livelihoods for the and their future generations. Today NEI have over 5,000 farmers in their outgrower network each of which NEI strive to increase their yearly income by 50% with their sustainable farming practices. Each farm is GPS-mapped for certification and traceability purposes.
The Epicurious Hedgehog & Cocoa Powder
Vanilla and Cocoa are two of the most sought after flavours in the world. The Epicurious Hedgehog brand of flavour extracts is made using only natural ingredients and a variety of strengths ranging from regular concentration to higher strengths allows for home use and larger scale uses such as chefs, dairy producers and natural food connoisseurs. Their pure Mbeya Cocoa from the flood plains of Lake Nyasa is made from natural cocoa beans that are carefully separated and milled at a low temperature to protect the nutrients. An alternative to ‘over-processed’ cocoa this cocoa yields a truer taste similar to dark chocolate making it perfect for a velvety baking session.