12 Jul 2018
Tunis, Tunisia
Sustainable Food and Agriculture

The amount of food lost in Africa alone can feed 300 million people. Beyond statistics, food waste is considered the third largest source of carbon dioxide after the US and China. Khadija F had the prior knowledge to reverse a chronic problem, as much as one person can do.

“Cook your trash!” says Khadija of her approach providing vegetarian cuisine with zero food waste. The savvy cook started her trendsetting initiative in 2016 after leaving Geneva to settle in Tunis. Based in La Soukra, central Tunis, Namnamfood propositions a fresh solution while informing the public on food waste and how to curb it.

“It is hard to reach people in the community, but I’m doing what I do in the hope that it will make an impact on people and the environment,” Khadija explains.

Minimizing the environmental toll every step of the way:

The Tunisian entrepreneur is also aware of the importance of how food is handled and disseminated to follow the farm-to-table concept. “I always resort to local suppliers except when it comes to seasonings,” Khadija adds. “I do a lot of fusion cooking and use Japanese seasonings, as well as Japanese recipes with local seasonings.”

According to Khadija, Namnamfood vigorously stands out the most in Tunis as an eco-minded business. Bordering on environmental activism, Namnamfood flourished in Tunis, a city malleable and adaptable to change socially and politically.

Changing the food scene in Tunis one dish at a time:

Khadija prides herself in concocting her signature dishes that include vegetable protein such as hummus. “When I launched my hashtag campaign #tayebzebeltek, which means “cook your bin” in Tunisian, they think they’re going to eat grass. But now they come expecting vegan and vegetarian varieties of dishes,” Khadija says.

Though Khadija does not actively reach out with her vision by offering workshops, she does use social media, specifically Instagram to share her dishes and recipes. “The names I give to dishes can raise awareness and people get surprised when they know the combination in these dishes,” Khadija adds.

A challenge she often encounters is the lack of awareness on the suppliers’ part. The small community does not fathom Khadija’s vision making it limiting to how much they can partake in her movement.

Another common issue all entrepreneurs go through is funding. Khadija depends solely on her business revenues, with zero food waste. “It’s more about equipment: I work from home, I don’t do any deliveries, and I only use sustainable containers such as glass Tupperware,” Khadija says.

Expanding beyond Tunis is not one of  Khadija’s plans, unless that comes normally with partnerships. “My business is what I can manage on my own but it won’t stretch beyond what I can deal with myself. That’s why you’ll always find me in the small-company size,” adds Khadija. She is looking towards deploying her ideas to food movements around Tunisia. “Tunisians love trends and what is trendy, and I can use that to introduce my products so I do have a political plan.”

Khadija’s team is comprised of three full-time workers, including herself. Her husband, Franck Olivier, is her number-one partner, where he is in charge of hosting people and making them comfortable. “People pay more money than what they’re used to so they expect an explanation of what we do because it’s foreign to them,” Khadija remarks.

Having studied law and social anthropology — so far away from food and cuisine — Khadija developed her business in a way that made it evolve as a trend. “At the beginning, it was a way to make a living, but it grew and is moving towards something with a meaning,” she adds.

Her husband, Franck Olivier, chimed in saying that Namnamfood is completely fresh and novel to the Tunis food scene. “The reputation grows beyond the circles of the first [vegetarian] converts who are looking for a more natural and healthy food without compromising the taste and originality,” Franck says. He added that the business makes good use of the available produce and shares its culture with customers whom he considers partners.




For personal reasons, last names were changed in this article.

Learn about Namnamfood through their blog and Facebook page.

Photos: Courtesy of Namnamfood.

Eman is an editor, and a finance and startup ecosystem journalist.Eman El-Sherbiny
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