When I first discovered Aya TigerNuts, it was difficult for me to contain my enthusiasm, for here was an exciting new brand offering a plant-based milk alternative to the citizens of Nigeria. I interviewed Damilola, the inspiring entrepreneur who is set to make tigernut milk a household staple across Nigeria and beyond.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
My name is Damilola Jimoh-Adewale, also known as the Tigernut Chic. I am an aspiring female agri-business entrepreneur who has ventured into processing locally grown agricultural products (the first being Tigernuts) to provide proudly Nigerian, healthy and delicious food and drink options to counter non-natural alternatives.
I love reading, travelling, relaxing and listening to music and podcasts.
How and why did you decide to launch Aya TigerNuts?
Growing up, I discovered I was lactose intolerant with its attendant effect on my skin/metabolism. In seeking out non-dairy choices, I came across tigernuts. This discovery led to the creation of tigernut milk which is liked by most, and has inspired the business.
The process was really organic. The first thing I did was to do research tigernuts - what I could make with it and where I could source it. Then I came up with a great and God-inspired recipe for the milk and gave samples out to friends and family members. They loved it and began to tell their friends and colleagues about it and that’s how we started and grew our customer base.
Now we are working on building a solid brand known for high quality, delicious and healthy tigernut products.
For those who don't know, can you tell us what tigernut is?
Contrary to the name tigernuts, they are actually not nuts but tubers, grown mostly in the North-Western region of Nigeria. Tigernuts are a traditional food in Nigeria that can be consumed in various forms. They can be eaten raw as a healthy snack or made into an all-natural, delicious, milky beverage known as 'Kunnu Aya' (Tigernut Milk), which serves as a healthy beverage or as a lactose-free alternative to dairy milk.
Nutritional benefits include:
1. Tigernuts are a highly nutritious plant food that contain a large number of antioxidants.
2. They have a high amount of soluble glucose and oleic acid, which helps lower bad cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. They are also an excellent source of starch, healthy fats, sugars and protein.
3. Tigernuts are rich in Vitamins B1, E, C and minerals such as phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron (as much as red meat), which are all essential for bone growth, tissue repair, muscles, body growth and general well-being.
4. They have a high content of dietary fibre and insoluble fibre which helps control blood sugar levels, thus preventing diabetes. They contain enzymes that aid digestion such as catalase, lipase and amylase, and are often recommended to those who suffer from constipation, indigestion, flatulence, diarrhoea and those who are watching their weight, as they keep you feeling fuller for longer, resulting in lower calorie intake.
Describe the process of making tigernut milk?
1. The tigeruts are washed properly and then soaked in water for about 8 hours.
2. After soaking, you wash again to make sure it is clean and then it is blended with a grinder or a really sturdy blender.
3. While blending, you can sweeten with dates or leave as is.
4. After blending, sieve with a cheese cloth or very fine colander (sieve).
5. Cool immediately. It can last in a very cold fridge for 2 - 3 days (because of the short shelf-life) and in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
|Flavours: Chocolate, Strawberry, Original, Vanilla|
TigerNut Milk in various flavours (Original, Ginger, Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry).
TigerNut Flour and very soon a snack made from tigernuts.
6. What has been the general response from the Nigerian public? Do you envision more Nigerians switching to tigernut milk as an alternative to regular milk?
The response has been great! People really love the product, however most people consume it as a beverage and not necessarily as a dairy-free milk alternative. Although, we do have some customers that consume it for that benefit.
What does the future look like for Aya TigerNuts? Any plans for expansion?
Yes, we definitely have more plans for expansion! We plan to release more products and very soon open up a milk bar where delicious tigernut-inspired treats will be served.
Where can customers find your products?
We are stocked at Green Grill House located at Wole Ariyo, off Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
Potential customers can call/text 07063043339 to place an order, or send a direct message to @ayatigernuts on instagram.
Connect with Damilola and follow DeNovo Organics online
Facebook: Aya TigerNuts