Meet Tamba, France’s ‘first’ African-inspired ready meal concept

By Katy Askew contact

- Last updated on GMT

Image source: Tamba
Image source: Tamba

Related tags: African cuisine

Former professional footballer Mahamadou Sylla has launched Tamba, a business that claims to be the first company in France to specialise in African-inspired ready meals.

The ready meals selection in France’s hypermarkets is ‘often very limited’, featuring heavily familiar favourites like pasta dishes, according to the assessment of Tamba. The French start-up wants this to change.

The company is rolling out a new line of fresh ready meals at Intermarché stores in Ile-de-France. The brainchild of Mahamadou Sylla, who originally hails from Senegal, the point of difference for these products are its exotic recipes and African flavours.

"Being very attached to my dual culture, it was therefore natural that I wanted to create a brand that shares the culinary wealth of African countries. It is also about paying homage to my mother: during my childhood, she was the one who introduced me to Senegalese food, which is one of the richest in West Africa,”​ the footballer turned food entrepreneur explained.

Tamba: A personal journey

When Sylla was forced to retire from professional football due to injuries, he embarked on a professional career at a car dealership.

As time passed, ‘routine eventually set in’, the former athlete reflected. Casting around for a new, ‘more personal’ challenge, in the autumn of 2015 Sylla said he settled on ‘the’ good idea during a lunchbreak with colleagues.

Le Chef Anto Tamba
Le Chef Anto developed Tamba recipes / Pic: Tamba

“I began to imagine myself tasting my mother's delicious meals. But there was no African recipe in the department of my hyper… Ditto in the ‘flavours of the world’ part."

Further research revealed that there were no brands delivering convenient African cuisine were available. The concept of Tamba was born.

Tamba rolled out three recipes last year: MAFE with lamb and white rice, THIOU YAPP with beef and white rice, and YASSA with chicken and white rice. To communicate their authentic African character, the product packaging is inspired by African wax fabric.

All three are rated A under the Nutri-Score system, meaning that they are ‘balanced’ and ‘light’ from a nutritional perspective, Tamba claimed.

Each recipe has been created by Anto Cocagne, well-known in France as Le Chef Anto and the products are produced in France, using a French producer to guarantee ‘excellence’ and ‘freshness’.

The company now plans to step up distribution throughout France and, in the longer term, take its chef-developed African recipes to global markets.

Related topics: Business

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