Afia is on a hot streak.
The Mediterranean-inspired frozen food company recently closed on a $3 million funding round and is on the cusp of opening a new 21,000 sq. ft manufacturing facility capable of producing a half a million falafel balls per day.
While Afia’s co-founders Farrah and Yassin Sibai are pleased with the brand’s development, they remain grounded in their roots.
In this episode, the Sibais reflected on the brand’s humble origins and highlighted a little black book of family recipes that have been passed down by generations and which serves as the foundation for Afia’s products, including falafel, kibbeh and a new line of ready-to-heat entrees.
Throughout their six years of business, the Sibais have stayed focused on their vision of creating a brand of nourishing, better-for-you food as a means of empowering consumers seeking healthier options, along with Afia’s team, which includes number of Syrian refugees who have fled war in search of a better life for their families.
As part of our conversation, the Sibais explained why they have long relied on self-manufacturing, how adversity placed Farrah “in right place at right time,” why brand and product awareness are equally important, the effectiveness of Instacart ads and instant redeemable coupons, and the completion of Afia’s Series A funding round.
In this Episode
|0:46: Farrah & Yassin Sibai, Co-Founders, Afia – Taste Radio editor Ray Latif met with the Sibais at Afia’s new production facility in Taylor, Texas where they discussed the company’s dramatic increase in capacity, the impact of personal tragedy and the Syrian civil war in the creation of Afia and how they got off the ground with just $20,000 and a business plan. They also recalled long days in the brand’s first commercial kitchen which was located in the back of a bar in downtown Austin, and eventual move to their first company-owned plant, learning how to engage with and sell to consumers at local farmers’ markets, their big break with Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B and subsequent deals with Sprouts and Whole Foods that brought Afia to stores across the U.S. Later, they discussed their marketing strategy and the effectiveness of influencer campaigns, why they don’t invest heavily in data, the development of Afia’s line of frozen entrees and why “the validity of the vision” is most important to the brand’s investors.|