March 2023 Trader of the Month - Zongo Foods

We spoke with Helen and Anthony to find out what inspired them to start Zongo Foods, how it's been going and if they have any special plans for the future. Keep reading to hear all about it!

Tell us about you business; how did Zongo Foods begin?

Zongo originally started as a idea we had over 8 years ago, it came to us at the same time whilst we were both in different places, so we took it as a sign. We noticed that there was a lot of food from Italy, India, and China on the market, but there was not a lot of African food that was available.

We wanted to get our food out there and having over 26 years of cheffing experience, we decided to offer a Ghanaian Fusion menu. This was so that we could showcase traditional food with a modern twist. When we first began trading we only offered 1 meat stew and 1 vegan, then as we started to trade at more markets and tested dishes on customers, we started to expand our offers.

Why do you trade at Catford Food Market? Why did we appeal to you and your business?

To be honest, Catford Market is our favourite market! We love that fact that it is so organised, the staff are all helpful friendly and promotion of the market is excellent. The market offers great support for traders and we love the location!

What does it take to be a successful trader?

I think you need to know your market and what products work within that market. You need a great product with a focus on delivering good quality food and excellent customer service.

How important is customer service to you and your business?

Our customers are very important to us so we strive to deliver excellent customer service at all times. With the cost of living crisis, our industry is seen as a luxury and many people are really watching their finances but because of the service we give at Zongo, we notice that even though things are tough we still get the same repeat customers and we are very grateful for this.

How important is branding?

It is very important to us as it is the first thing that shows people who we are and what we do.

How eco-friendly are you?

We are very eco-friendly, all of our packaging is recyclable and we use only wooden cutlery.

Tell us about your signature dishes. What makes your food unique?

Peanut Chicken Stew is our most popular dish which we serve it with Jollof rice and salad -  lots of customers like to add on fried plantains too. Spinach and egusi is our vegan dish, which is always a conversation piece, because customers want to know what egusi is.

So tell us, what is egusi?

Egusi is a seed of the egusi (white melon) plant. which is native to tropical Africa, and it is cultivated in many countries on the continent. The egusi seed is rich in nutrients, including protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals and is often ground into a powder or paste to be added to stews or soul. 


What are your plans for the future? Do you have any exciting business updates to share?

At the moment we are looking to expand the business, offering a whole new range of products. We are currently trying to find a suitable kitchen space or retail space that we could convert. It has been a bit challenging because of the cost of living crisis as prices have been very high, but we are hopeful that something will come up!

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