All food green, fresher- Yanaya Health Foods
By Wellington Zimbowa
YOUTHFUL Nyaradzo Moyo, a trailblazer food entrepreneur, credits her photography university education to the rise and definite success of her healthy foods restaurant to those living with medical conditions that have special demands on one’s diet.
A Stellenbosch University photography graduate, South Africa, she is now the ‘Madam Boss’ of 105 employees through her seven branches vegetarian restaurants, only started in 2016.
Going by the Christian doctrine where God is regarded as the universe’s Creator, creativity is the essence of nature!
And the down to earth, but business-focused Nyaradzo boasts of the two gifts of creativity and having a taste of more natural foods.
“I established Yanaya because I was the typical customer of such a business. As a healthy lifestyle enthusiast and vegetation, I struggled to find places in Zimbabwe where I could find the type of food I wanted to eat. I knew I wasn’t the only one and thus I began a journey. I didn’t start the business by opening a restaurant, I started small then grew, organically as the market responded positively to the work,” she told this publication.
As fate would have it, Nyaradzo’s Yanaya Foods’ vision stood well ahead of the global drive to encourage you to take a pace-setting move in food systems, directing the course towards a healthy diet and healthy living world.
The theme of International Youth Day 2021, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, highlights the success of such a global effort that will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.
According to United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres, “Young people are on the frontlines of the struggle to build a better future for all. The COVID- 19 pandemic has highlighted the dire need for the kind of transformational change they seek – and young people must be full partners in that effort.”
He went on to say that young participants stressed the importance of working towards more equitable food systems. In addition, they highlighted the need for youth to make informed decisions on food choices through increasing global education on the healthiest and most sustainable options for both individuals and the environment.
And, Nyaradzo Moyo literally means console (for the first name), and passion (for the surname) had the following to say.
“We pride ourselves as a business that supports local farmers. Our work is enriching local value chains. You know most farmers struggle to access markets and we are providing a ready market for their produce,” she said.
“But is it an easy toll trying to change people’s tastes, even if it means life-lasting benefits?
“We are redefining how people eat. So, naturally, it takes time to have the market adjust. We also love to come up with new ways of doing things. Coming up with new ways of doing business and creating new products means investing in research and development. That’s a challenge but with God’s grace and the right team we are achieving positive results,” revealed Nyaradzo.
In line with her healthy living passion, she has also partnered with one of the best choreographers and certified fitness instructor, Chengetayi Mnisi for Dance Fitness Sundays at Yanaya Avenues in the capital.
According to Yanaya Foods, plant-based diets were observed to have lower obesity, cancer and diabetes risks.
Added Nyaradzo: “We believe food labels should be simple stickers where natural ingredients not tonnes of chemicals are listed. You want to eat food, you are not an experiment! Eat healthy.”
The entreprise has been featured on many media platforms including BBC and recently bagged two awards at the prestigious Megafest National Business Awards.
“Our flagship product is our smoothies with no additives and no sugar.” The now legendary Yanaya smoothies incorporate local, traditional fruit masawu, tsubvu and baobab.
The firm serves food that is plant-based with a myriad of vegan and vegetarian options such as sweet potatoes and barley.
Yanaya is not 100 percent vegetarian given the core importance of meat in the local diet, but puts emphasis on vegetarian products as it slowly moves to change the status with its naturally based delicious culinary.
Their star attraction products are smoothies that come with no additives and are sugar-free.
But how does she manage her innovative business, she only being a photographer by profession.
“I have built a team around me of staff and consultants who support my vision. I have the capacity to envision and I engage people to help implement my vision for the business,” she added.
Nyaradzo adds that the COVID pandemic has unexpectedly boosted her business even though restaurants have been closed for sit-in dining for the greater part of 2020 and 2021. “It was a blessing in disguise. Corona really pushed people to be more conscious of their health and what they were eating.”