Hapi Gourmet’s Trailblazing Sauce Featured in the Boston Globe
Last year, LEAF approved a loan to help Hapi Gourmet, a small business in Boston, finance the development of its African creamy peanut sauce product line. By the end of the year, the Boston Globe had published a story about this successful business dedicated to normalizing African-style cooking sauces and ingredients in the American food consumer market.
As American food consumers integrate international food products and cuisines into their meals at an increasing rate, ethnic food products are becoming staples in grocery stores. However, despite the widespread availability of ethnic food products in stores, African-style cooking products remain rare. Hapi Gourmet aims to fill this gap by introducing a line of West African products. The first product is an African creamy peanut sauce -- a staple in Cameroon, where the owner, Paulette Ngachoko, is from. The sauce is inspired by her mother’s recipe and is traditionally consumed with starches, including rice.
Raised in Cameroon, Paulette came to the United States in 1997 as a refugee seeking asylum. Forced out of Cameroon along with other student leaders fighting for human rights in the early 1990s, Paulette continued her education in Burkina Faso. Upon arriving in the United States, she enrolled at Boston University, earning a Masters Degree in International Banking and Financial Law. With the encouragement of friends and family, Paulette decided to combine her passion for food and finance by starting her own business.
Since starting Hapi Gourmet, Paulette has received strong positive responses from restaurants and households that have tried the creamy peanut sauce product. Hapi Gourmet initially raised money for a commercial kitchen blender through the microfinance platform, Kiva, and in December of 2018, Paulette and her peanut sauce were featured in the Boston Globe.
LEAF would like to congratulate Paulette on her recent success and is excited to see what the future holds for Hapi Gourmet’s trailblazing creamy peanut sauce.