“Our dream is to become The Hershey Company of East Africa,” said Fatima Riyami, founder of NatureRipe Kilimanjaro, a female owned business in Tanzania that produces sauces, jams, cashew nuts, peanut butter, honey, and cashew candy bars. After experiencing issues with the chocolate coating on their cashew snack bars, Fatima reached out to Partners in Food Solutions and its network of expert volunteers for support. “We were experiencing changing color and water separation in our chocolate sauces,” said Fatima. “We needed the assistance of PFS volunteers to help make a better chocolate cashew snack bar and improve its shelf life and texture,” she said.
Hershey’s Michael Nolt, a principal scientist with more than 35 years of experience, has helped NatureRipe Kilimanjaro improve their cashew snack bar product. Since the project started in February 2022, Michael and the project team have discussed the different types of ingredients to use to stabilize products, like the agent for chocolate which NatureRipe Kilimanjaro never knew while working with local Tanzanian institutes. Furthermore, Michael has provided guidelines around what ingredients to use for chocolate coating for cashew bars including cocoa, glucose, and fat.
“We’ve been experimenting with new products and formulations,” said Fatima. “The volunteer’s trainings are very important as we are bettering the production of our products.” By improving the chocolate coating on the cashew snack bar, Fatima hopes their sales will increase and also give them the opportunity to be one of the first local companies to produce a cashew bar coated with chocolate. “We are very grateful for the support from Hershey team members, PFS and TechnoServe, who tirelessly hold our hands and help us achieve our goals. Through the team’s support and cooperation, we’re seeing an immense change and are excited for our future. We hold our heads high thanks to our collaboration with experts from Hershey.”