Oja ready meals

Source: Oja

Home Comforts comprises four SKUs: Gizdodo, Ayamase, Efo Riro, and Jollof rice

Specialist African and Caribbean online grocer Oja has launched a range of ready meals.

The new Home Comforts own-label range is made up of four SKUs – Gizdodo, Ayamase, Efo Riro, and Jollof rice – which will give shoppers the chance to “relive cherished memories of meals lovingly prepared by their mothers or aunties with every bite”.

Founded in 2020 by Mariam Jimoh, Oja has expanded from serving a single London postcode to cover the entirety of Greater London, and has more recently launched the service in Birmingham. One day each month, Oja additionally delivers nationwide.

The move into own-label ready meals was prompted by the “very few competitors on the market for these items” Jimoh told The Grocer.

“We see a huge gap for all things regarding foods and goods from people’s culture, especially for African and Caribbean people,” she added. “People do want to buy ingredients but they also want to complete their shop with easy but great-quality meals, just like they would in M&S or Sainsbury’s.

“People want convenience and they want to eat these foods in a quick but authentic way. Our mission is to bring the warmth and familiarity of traditional African and Caribbean cuisine right to people’s doorstep, in the most convenient way possible,” she added.

Having launched only a couple of weeks ago, the grocer has seen a significant increase in average order value “as most baskets will include one or two of the four SKUs we have released” Jimoh said.

Oja now plans to expand the ready meal range into “new subcultures” including Caribbean dishes.

“We don’t do any other own brand items yet, but we are looking to launch our ambient line of most of the dried goods we sell such as gari and pounded yam – we find that these are very popular and we’ve seen a good opportunity to begin to sell these in house,” Jimoh said.

Last month, Oja secured funding from England and Chelsea footballer Raheem Sterling. As well as becoming an angel investor for the online supermarket, Sterling is to serve as the platform’s first brand ambassador. Pre-seed funding was also secured from early-stage venture capital firm LocalGlobe.