One of our newest brand partners, GRIA Food Co., is all about equity across the supply chain—this means not only sourcing cashews on Fairtrade terms but also working with local producers so value-adding steps of the manufacturing process can take place in the same regions where the crops are cultivated. We’re glad for this new partnership and for the chance to hear from Joshua Reed-Diawuoh about GRIA.
Please introduce yourself – what is your role with GRIA Food Co.?
My name is Joshua Reed-Diawuoh, and I’m the Founder and Owner of GRIA Food Co. We’re based in Boston, MA, where I was born and lived almost all my life. Right now, I’m wearing many hats as we’re an early-stage company: I handle everything from Fairtrade sourcing, to branding, marketing, and sales to production.
Tell me about your company. What’s your mission?
We’re a premium snack company dedicated to bringing our customers the best produce from across the continent of Africa. Our mission is to source only the highest-quality, Fairtrade produce from our partners in West Africa, support agricultural development in the regions we source from, and offer customers a range of snack flavors, from traditional favorites to bold and exciting options.
What is the story behind GRIA’s Fairtrade cashews?
Our cashews are grown across West Africa and sourced from Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso. We took almost two years to find the best cashew kernels in the region and were fortunate to find amazing Fairtrade partners in these countries. Typically, cashews are exported from West Africa in their shells with no value addition for processing elsewhere.
We only source cashews that have been shelled, peeled, roasted, and packed in West Africa, which helps contribute to local food economies and domestic food manufacturing.
Why did you choose to certify your product with Fairtrade?
Fairtrade certification aligns well with our values as a company: making sure producers get paid fairly, workers’ rights respected and the environment protected. Fairtrade approaches their work with rigor and a broader understanding of historical inequities in our global food system that resonated with me. It’s an existing ecosystem a brand like GRIA can plug into, where you can be sure that everything is produced, processed, and sourced the right way.
What makes your product unique?
- The excellent quality of the cashews we source from West Africa. Each of our batches are made with single-origin, premium cashews from a specific country. Many companies source cashews from all around the globe from different regions in Asia, Africa and Latin America and mix everything together in their final product.
- We offer classic flavors like Roasted Plain, Roasted Salted, and Rosemary Salted Cashews but also have more unique ones like Hot Honey, Spicy Garlic, and Cinnamon Sugar Cashews that have been popular with customers.
- We’re an African-owned brand with roots in Ghana. My family is from Ghana, and I was inspired to start GRIA after working with producers there early in my career. Many of them struggled to access financing to scale up production and move into more profitable food manufacturing activities. Addressing these challenges is at the heart of our mission.
- We source Fairtrade and support food manufacturing in West Africa by only importing cashews that have been shelled, peeled, and roasted in their countries of origin.
How do you use your business to create a more sustainable and/or equitable world?
We use our brand to educate consumers about the importance of ethical sourcing, building up food manufacturing in West Africa, and how the global food system works. We believe in the importance of informed consumers making change with their wallets and creating a more equitable world.
What’s next for GRIA Food Co.? Where do you see your company in 5 years, for example?
We’re focusing on roasted cashew snacks for now but look to expand to different types of specialty cashew products and explore other produce sourced from West Africa as well. Our focus for the short-term is to expand our retail store presence and grow our corporate customer base (think snacks for the office that employees can enjoy throughout the day). For a limited time, we’re offering new subscription partners their first order free – it’s a great way to try our different products.
What inspires you and your team to work towards business for good?
The opportunity to support producers working hard on the land and giving them a larger piece of the pie.
What is one key takeaway for customers to know about GRIA Food Co. and your work with Fairtrade?
GRIA is focused on bringing its customers the best tasting produce the continent has to offer that meets Fairtrade’s rigorous standards. We believe these things go hand-in-hand: produce grown and sourced the right way tastes the best!
How can a customer get involved with your brand?
Where can customers find your Fairtrade products?
The easiest way to order our products is on our website griafoodco.com. You can find us at select stores in Greater Boston, including Dorchester Food Co-op, Nubian Markets, Sarah’s Market and Destiny African Market. We also do a number of markets and events throughout the year that we announce across our social channels.
We’re in this together
Fairtrade America partners with brands on the journey to certification and beyond. We can help with everything from finding a certified supply chain to marketing your newly certified product.Get in Touch