What does Amäzi mean?
Head to our About page for the full spiel, but in short - Amäzi means "water" in Luganda. To us, water is the essence of growth, and here at Amäzi, we're committed to growing agricultural supply chains. Symbolically, you can't grow without Amäzi. Plus, we love that it's similar to "amazing" - talk about positive word association!
Is Amäzi Organic Certified?
Amäzi is organically grown, but not certified organic. What does this mean?
While we recognize the importance of Certified Organic, and take that signaling seriously, we also have spent quite a bit of time building up relationships with what we call "transitional" farmers, and we do our best to include those who are working toward certifications into our sourcing model. From initial trainings to final audits, certifying farmers can take up to three years. It's not only a huge commitment for brands to get Organic Certification, but also for the suppliers they work with. It's an investment. It's asking them to farm at a higher standard, to do away with any "lazy" chemically subsidized farming methods, to plant barriers and to intercrop with nitrogen enriching beans or coffee, to conduct more checks, to keep records, and ultimately, to be patient.
While farmers go through this "transitional" time, many of the buyers who commit to Organic cannot purchase from them, until all audits are complete and finalized. They would risk their certification if they prematurely sourced, and we respect that. In our experience working directly with farmers groups, this is a big ask for smallholder farmers, and we want to reward them for their hard work along the way - we want to keep them encouraged. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
With that, while we don't require all farmers in our network be Organic Certified, we do require they're undergoing organic trainings and checks. Hence, our label "Organically Grown and Made in Uganda."
Are Amäzi Snacks nut-free?
Our products are free of tree nuts and peanuts, but please note that our Salted Coconut Oil, Cocoa, and Cinnamon Plantain Chips contain Coconut Oil.
Although our manufacturing sites in Uganda are totally free of nuts, we do use a shared packaging facility here in the U.S. That facility does process nuts, and although, all equipment is sterilized before and after production, we do advise that our products are packaged by equipment that comes into contact with nut-based ingredients. Please feel free to contact us with any further questions.
Is Amäzi Gluten-Free?
While Amäzi is not certified Gluten Free, it has no gluten containing ingredients and is both packaged and handled in a gluten free space. There are no wheat products in any of our production locations.
Why don't Amäzi plantain chips taste like the chips I'm used to?
Great question. Amäzi takes a unique approach to plantain chips - we dry and roast them, instead of frying or high-temp roasting in lots of oil. The result? A hearty crunch and bold flavor, but without any of the grease. Sometimes, they'll taste like a cross between dried fruit and a chip, with a hint of caramelization to them. They'll have a denser texture, due to the drying process, which may give them a bit more bite, but we find that to be much more satisfying - and perfect for topping your yogurt, smoothie bowls, salads, or dunking in your favorite dip!
Is Amäzi kid-friendly?
Yes! Kids LOVE our Cinnamon and Cocoa plantain chips especially, and we often encourage mama's serve it to them in place of the sugary cereal or granola they may be used to. While we might recommend you steer clear of the spicy flavors, we find kids these days have refined pallets and even love our Ginger Turmeric or Ginger Lime Jackfruit Chews as a replacement for highly processed fruit chews.
Do note, our plantain chips and chews may have a denser texture (heartier crunch and chew due to drying process!), so they might not be ideal for very young kids.
Is Amäzi woman-owned?
You bet. 100% woman owned and founded, and proud of it!
How does Amäzi give back to farming communities?
Beyond just supporting remote farming communities through our purchases, we also contribute funds to our farming communities through a Community Development Premium. For every kilogram of product we purchase, we set aside $0.25 into a Community Development Premium Fund. These funds are released annually to our farmers groups, and go toward projects of their choosing. The group votes on how they want to use these additional funds - anything from school supplies for local youth, to investing in growing their own farming businesses, to building new schools or community centers.
What do you mean “direct trade”?
In short, we believe in building partnerships that are direct and open with the farmers from which we source. We include them in conversations on pricing, seasonality, partnership arrangements, and more, so that they can make informed, fair decisions while we work together. We aim to cut out any third parties, with our production teams purchasing directly from farming cooperatives or family-owned farms.
Under standard practice, farmers will sell crops to passing middlemen, who then sell produce for hiked up prices in trading centers and markets. Because of their remote locations, farmers are often at the mercy of passing traders, and therefore, cannot ensure fair pricing. This not only results in unfair earnings for farming communities, it also has implications for levels of food waste. Whatever is unsold or unused is left to rot - both at the market and farm level.
Direct Trade requires a negotiated contract, under which both suppliers and farming communities have agreed to fair purchase levels and prices. Farmers groups can expect consistent purchases with a price point depending on seasonality. Ultimately, this is the nature of a direct relationship. Being honest, knowing the farmers at the source, and letting the farmers know us - as well.
How does Amäzi ensure transparency?
We love this question. As a small business, we do what we can with our resources, changing supply chain, and limited metrics available, but we strive to always improve. We have a vision of increased transparency and traceability. Ultimately, we hope to regularly publish metrics, to use technologies like blockchain for tracking, and to continue conveying the strategy behind our impact and story behind our sourcing. We want people to know where their food is coming from, and why we do what we do - and we want to be held accountable for it!
For now, we're committed to sharing the what's and how's on both sides - having direct and open conversations with our partners at the source; sharing our sourcing practices through social media, answering any questions that come our way, and committing to detailed batch tracking that can be traced all the way back to the farming communities.
Can we partner for an event?
We love to partner! If you have a strategic partnership or event collaboration in mind, please reach out to us via the "Contact Us" page and we'll get back to you ASAP.