This past week, Lisa Curtis, the founder and CEO of Kuli Kuli, shared with us her unique background and story—working with the United Nations, volunteering with the Peace Corps, writing political briefings for President Obama, and launching Kuli Kuli, one of the first food companies to introduce the superfood moringa to the United States.
During her time with the Peace Corps in West Africa, Lisa was seeking nutritious supplements to her vegetarian diet when she was introduced to the moringa tree, a fast-growing, drought-resistant plant that has more nutrients than kale!
“I was in this rural village, and I’m a vegetarian, and I found there wasn’t a lot of food for me to eat that was super nutritious,” said Lisa. “I asked a few women in my village’s health center, ‘What can I eat to help me feel more energized and improve my nutrition?’ They said to try moringa!”
The women made Lisa a peanut snack called “kuli kuli” and added moringa to it. After eating this delicious snack, she started to feel better and noticed her energy was restored. “That’s how I got moringa obsessed,” said Lisa.
As she learned more about moringa, Lisa realized she could use it to help improve the lives of women in West Africa. After spending several years in the early 2010s working to sustainably source high quality moringa to the U.S., Lisa launched Kuli Kuli in 2014 as a true partnership that supports women moringa farmers in Africa and unlocks benefits of moringa to the U.S. consumer.
“We’re working with amazing moringa farming entrepreneurs, who are building sustainable, social businesses around moringa and community,” said Lisa. “Our goal is to unlock access to the U.S. market and tell the story of what this plant can do for people.”
For those who’ve never heard of this plant and curious about its flavor, Lisa explained that moringa tastes a lot like matcha but is actually more nutritious. “It has an earthy flavor to it,” said Lisa, “and similar to matcha, it pairs well with different ingredients that work with earthiness.” She added that moringa also has natural anti-inflammatory properties and is a very versatile superfood.
Kuli Kuli continues to grow their product lineup and reach. The company recently expanded their offerings at Whole Foods, which has been a partner since 2016, to include their natural wellness shots. They also launched a new product called “SuperBark.” Perfect for the “chocoholics” out there, the new SuperBark snack is a low-sugar, dark chocolate snack supercharged by moringa!
Backed by a diverse team that is goal and mission motivated, Kuli Kuli continues to grow and create a world where everyone has access and knowledge of the nutritional benefits of moringa.
You can learn more about Lisa and Kuli Kuli on their website, and be sure to check out the video below!
Article by Andrew Hsiung, Yumday Intern, Summer 2021