Every Arab country likes to call itself the best food culture in the region. We’re not about to start splitting hairs on who makes the best hummus in the region, but we will share with you a list of five Lebanese food startups.
From ice cream to gluten free crackers these Lebanese foodies know how to feed.
The food: wheat-free, vegan, GMO free breads and biscuits
Founder: Soumaya Merhi
Funding: raising capital right now
What they do: they make oat cookies, maamoul, bread and natural energy bars (known as Taqa Bar) by working with barley, oat, rye and spelt. They now introducing organic gluten-free thyme crackers. All their products are sold through offline outlets but they are working on their online platform, due to be working by January 2017. Their plans for expansion include exporting to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar, while diversifying their gluten-free products.
The food: gluten-free, vegan friendly dehydrated vegetable snacks and kale chips
Founder: Reema Mansour Maamari
Funding: personal financing
What they do: they have an organic certification and their dehydrated crackers come in beetroot, carrot, and celery flavor, as well as kale chips, and are distributed in stores around Beirut. All are made from ingredients sourced in Lebanon, bar some of the seeds and salt that come from abroad, and are made in Lebanon. They’re not yet turning a profit and are looking to export in the future.
The food: fruits, vegetables, eggs, various grocery products like chips and pickles.
Founder: Mario and Joseph Massoud
Funding: they have raised capital from private investors
What they do: Mario and his father Joseph began to expand Biomass in 2010 and now work with 45 farms around Lebanon, supplying supermarkets in the country as well as exporting to the GCC and West Africa. They have also exported to Jordan, France, and Iraq. Their website is not a commercial tool but that is something planned for the future.
The food: ice cream, cakes, biscuits
Founder: Nayla Audi
Funding: no outside investment
What they do: the oldest on our list Nayla started her business out of the back of a restaurant in Beirut. While her products (the most popular of which is the ice cream) are sold through other stores in Beirut there is the Oslo ice cream shop in Mar Mikhael opened in 2013. Sticking just to Lebanon for the moment, they are looking to export in the future.
The food: cleansing juices
Founder: Hana Alireza and Leila Fakih Nashabe
Funding: a Kafalat loan and personal funds
What they do: Qi Juices are are cold pressed juices to make you drink yourself healthy. Coming in a variety of flavors from Carrot Boost to Lowz Love, they’re made gluten-free, dairy-free, with zero sweeteners or preservatives. All ingredients, bar harder to source ones like pineapple, are organic Lebanese. These are delivered to those wishing to take three or five day cleanses. This year they have expanded with their Juice & Wellness Bar in Beirut's Badaro area, with smoothies and juices plus food, and a program of workshops throughout the year. And as of the last few months they are turning a profit.
Featured image via Oslo.