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Through all my memories of existing in a Puerto Rican household, there was one constant that was never questioned. It was always there in our pantries, in our foods, in every supermarket we’d set foot in. It was the secret to delicious meals that I desperately try to replicate today. The bright orange packaging of sazon and the yellow and blue bottle of adobo are as prevalent and loved in my life as for others, but how did this happen, what are we actually eating, and why?
The sazon and adobo we use today, especially those we find pre-packaged and readily available in most grocery stores came to be out of a need to enjoy the flavors that gave our foods its signature aroma and flavor in less time. You cannot say sazon and adobo without Goya coming to mind. With a brand as integrated into Latinx households as this one, it’s almost as if Goya is passed down like a family heirloom. However, as generations continue to become more health-conscious, so will their buying habits. Increasingly, our current generation is leaning towards food items where ingredients are more transparent, natural, and overall coming from a trusted company. So what is the future of our beloved sazon and adobo? The answer is Loisa.
When I first heard of organic sazon and adobo, I think what I usually do when organic produce is presented to me: why? To hear of an organic version of traditional spices immediately put my guard up, because breaking from tradition tends to do that to you. But Loisa doesn’t want to break from tradition, it wants to evolve with it. Loisa is a company based in New York City that approaches their organic products as the evolution of an important cultural element that will redefine our favorite flavors in a healthier way.
“What we say is that this food is about tradition,” says Scott Hattis, Co-Founder of Loisa.
Along with Kenneth Luna, the duo started this company when they realized “a better quality, honest brand of traditional Latin foods had to exist but didn't.” Scott and Kenneth are long-time college friends who both have an appreciation for the flavors of sazon and adobo.
“You see so much product and branding innovation when you walk through a supermarket aisle but each time you stop at the Latin foods section, we are still stuck in the past,” says Kenneth. “I don’t get why. Consumers of Latin food deserve healthier, organic alternatives.”
The first thing you’ll notice when picking up a bottle of Loisa Sazon and Adobo is the word “organic.” All the ingredients used in these bottles are the finest around.
“Ingredients are a focused way of being conscious of what you’re eating,” says Scott. “If words sound fake, they probably are.”
In traditional sazon and adobo, ingredients like Tricalcium Phosphate (anti-caking agent), artificial coloring, and MSG are some of the hidden elements that cause the most damage to our bodies when consumed.
Scott alludes to the harm of these ingredients when he says, “MSG causes allergic reactions: stomach issues, headaches. Beyond that, some of the ingredients used are fillers. You don’t need an anti-caking mix.”
The most important consideration for these seasonings and the future of its successful integration into our households is affordability and accessibility. “We deliberately focus on selling online for the most part. That’s where we can bring together our community. The internet makes the product more accessible. At the same time, we know we want to bring our better quality versions of these classic Latin foods to everyone, so eventually, we want to be in stores everywhere."
Loisa is #feedingtradition with their offerings of sazon, adobo, and two Ready-to-Heat rice packs, but this is only the beginning for the brand. When thinking of the future, Scott imagines growing to become “the Latin food brand for new generations that everyone can enjoy.” As for Kenneth, he wants to see this company grow beyond their current offerings. “We started with seasonings and ready-made rice but we want to expand into other product categories. Also, building a strong sense of community around our brand and mission statement is very important to us.”
As the food industry pays more attention to the needs of our growing health-conscious generations, we can only hope that more follow the approach of Scott and Kenneth; one filled with a love for flavor, culture, and longevity.
The Bronx Vegan is a blog run by Puerto Rican and Peruvian Bronxite, Alexis Montoya. This blog aims to highlight vegan resources in and around The Bronx through recipes, reviews and more. If you like what you read, please consider tipping below! All tips will be put towards vegan efforts to share with the world.