Mama Nagi’s – An Exotic Twist on Traditional Favourites!

29th June 2020

Posted In: The Interview

Mama Nagi’s, a range of award-winning healthy and authentic Indian chilled pastes and ambient cook-in sauces, launched its range of sauces into 142 Aldi stores in May, as part of the ‘Grow with Aldi’ program.  This followed the success of Mama Nagi’s pastes, which launched in to Aldi stores in June last year as part of the same program.

And shortly (July), the brand will be re-launching into 200 Lidl stores as part of their Lidl Kickstart Program, which focuses on helping local food & drink suppliers to grow their businesses. The delicious Indian cook-in sauces are set to liven up a tired category – with an exotic twist on some traditional favourites.

Now in its fifth-year Mama Nagi’s portfolio of products are made with fresh ingredients and blends of herbs & spices, which are 100% Vegan, Wheat Free, Gluten Free and Free from Sugar. The New sauces are cooked without Oils, Sugars or Salt investing not only in the future of the business but also the future of food and drink production in Ireland. The company keeps it local, using Musgrave’s supplies for all of its ingredients along with a small local family run business for its printing and packaging.

Like most small local businesses during this time, Mama Nagi’s has had to adapt to a new way of working, where instore sampling and interactive workshops have been replaced with home deliveries and online cooking classes, reaching aspiring chefs here and in the UK.

“The biggest lesson I have learned during this time is how adaptable you need to be when running your own business,” acknowledges Mindi Keane, CEO of Mama Nagi’s. “You never know what curve ball is going to be thrown your way. You need to be able to change your trajectory accordingly. I believe after careful consideration I very quickly adapted my cooking class model to suit an online audience, which worked really well.

“It’s also always important to seek help and guidance from local business and friends or turn to your Local Enterprise Office for support – Don’t struggle on your own!”

Mindi is a regular guest chef on Ireland AM and is used to appearing on screens across the country as she shares her most guarded family recipes with audiences. “It’s been a really interesting time for the brand. As most will agree, it’s important to adapt and grow, as the external landscape changes, to keep the activation relevant. I’m really enjoying hosting online cooking classes, as people can cook-a-long with me from their own homes. I believe that it is so important to be able to knock-up easy dishes that are both healthy and delicious, now more than ever,” she says.

“I’m really pleased with the small community we’re creating. Through the online classes we stay connected, learn some basic Indian cooking skills and your dinner is prepared at the end of it – win win! I also appreciate that we’re all in different situations at the moment so I’ve been offering low income and frontline workers free logins,” she confirms.

Although it has been difficult at times, Mindi has also had the opportunity to take stock, learn new skills and experiment more: “Like a lot of other businesses, it has been a very challenging time for my business”, Mindi admits. “Instore demonstrations & tasting, food sampling events and group cooking classes have all come to an end. The silver linings would definitely have to be the experience of taking the cooking classes online, which I’ve really enjoyed. I have also had time to do some of the things that I’ve been wanting to do for a while such as take a short online food photography course, experiment with some new recipes and I’ve also been growing my own chilli plants in the garden,” she adds.

Mindi is not alone in recognising new possibilities and adapting when necessary. She has noticed that many people and brands have done really well at innovating during the crisis: “It’s been really amazing to see. Just to name a few, O’Neill’s making scrubs, GoCarIreland providing free cars for frontline workers, 3-D printing companies turning their hand to making visors and drinks companies producing hand sanitizer to meet the demand.”

Mindi talks about her ambitions for the future which includes expanding the range on offer and “allowing Mama Nagi’s to grow into a leading Asian food brand in Ireland.” And if she was given a blank cheque she doesn’t hesitate in her response:  “I would like to create a holistic health retreat, where guests can experience how to cultivate a healthy mind and body through practices of yoga, exercise & food – including nutritional cooking workshops & classes, of course!.”

Determination and fearlessness of the unknown are traits which have helped Mindi to develop and succeed in business. If she was to offer advice to budding entrepreneurs it would be to “follow your dreams no matter how big or small they are and don’t let anyone tell you your idea is stupid and you’re wasting your time. The wasted time was listening to them,” she concludes.

To find out more about Mami Nagi’s to include Mindi’s wonderful cooking classes you can visit her website here>>