One of the things that really stood out to me was the emphasis put not only on seasonality of produce, but also on getting a variety of it – by this I mean sub-variety of the produce being a real point of difference, for example queen pineapple, purple sweet potato or yellow granadilla. Almost all of these were fruits and vegetables known to me, but the ability to access local varieties with unique tastes so different to the ones I had commonly experienced was a real surprise. I have only been back in the UK for a month, but I already miss these products that were weekly buys for me. I am looking forward to using this newfound knowledge in product innovations to come; the sweetness of a queen pineapple is just unrivaled for me and something I can’t wait to see put under the spotlight in future products!
I know my green lentils from orange, and my quinoa from my couscous, but the shear variety of heritage pulses and their uses in South Africa was incredible. From finger millet fried cakes to cow peas and mung beans in stews, the availability of these products was widespread, and their use ingrained (no pun intended) into South African cooking. With their ability to add taste, texture and protein to a meal these are a great addition to my cooking repertoire (and I was very excited to find mung beans in the world food aisle of Sainsburys!). Using these as a carrier to flavour was an essential lesson I learnt from consumers – a base of spices and tomatoes being common. I look forward to experimenting with them in my own cooking, plus seeing them make their way into future innovations once we can get back in the Cubo development kitchen. My only regret is I didn’t get to try Bambara ground nuts… next time!
Every single one of our personal experiences, new and old, give us a unique perspective. Using this collective knowledge in ideation and innovation, grounded with consumer insight and culinary expertise, is the new experience I am most looking forward to as I embark on my Cubo journey with all of you.
Written by Susannah Croucher, Joint Managing Director at KICR