Updated: Apr 6, 2022
We are often asked “How do you make these amazing dishes?” The first part of the answer is very easy, we make them in our dedicated commercial kitchen in East Hanover, New Jersey. The second part took us some time to think about…
Inspiration comes to us in many forms: books by famous philosophers, artwork at the Metropolitan or Louvre, an unbreakable strikeout record set by our favorite pitcher, or a speech given by a scientist or an activist. But more than likely, the inspiration that sticks with us the most and helps shape us and our goals, is bestowed upon us right here in our own communities whether it was your favorite English teacher from grade school or the sweet older gentleman who bags groceries each week at the local supermarket who always greets us with a smile on his face.
For the team at Angel Planet Foods, immersing ourselves in the communities we serve has given us essential inspiration in creating our dishes. The local farmers’ markets that we have been blessed to attend in the first year of our business have given us the opportunity to have thought provoking conversations with our customers who are passionate about the same things as our team: organic, all natural, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian food. The valuable feedback from customers not only allowed us to improve our products but also inspired us to develop new products. Customers who love our food also shared with us their desires and inspired us to think “How can we make that happen?”
During the summer months, as we were puzzled why our Indian dishes were not selling, one frequent customer, Jeff, said “You used to have more organic products, what happened to them?” We told Jeff that having two versions of the same product, one all-natural and one organic, was confusing to our customers, and therefore we decided to just keep the all-natural one. Jeff then said, “Maybe you can make the organic just a little different.” And our team came up with the idea of adding mango! What can be better than mango for a summer twist? This was a juxtaposition of ingredients that just happened to work perfectly and eventually become one of our best sellers this summer! Initially our customers were a little wary of sweet and tangy mango chunks in a rich curry sauce, but it caught on and it just worked. We even took it up a notch and developed a Peach Mango Coconut Curry Chickpea - and the summer curry line was born.
On a fine fall day, our new customer Patricia asked, “Can you make your Chickpea Sweet Potato organic?” It reminded us of the conversation with Jeff, and now we thought, it’s time for a fall organic line. We developed an Organic Apple Cinnamon
Sweet Potato and an Organic Pumpkin Squash Mango Curry that are now at the market each weekend! We also came out with an organic tofu salad, based on the feedback from our customers who loved the vermicelli noodle salad in Montclair.
Just as inspiration can come from positive feedback, it can also come from learning of peoples’ aversions to certain textures and flavors. We love making the texture of our dishes complex and intriguing. Many Asian ingredients have textures that are unfamiliar to many Americans. For example, Cari loves our food but has a problem with the texture of rice cakes. “It doesn’t look like rice and does not look like cake and threw me off. But I love the amazing sauce, can you make it with Tofu?” A few months later, Spicy Tofu Hot Pot with Mushroom Noodles was born with an infusion of Enoki mushrooms and vegetables commonly used in hot pot dishes. Thanks Cari!
Our team is always striving to make the quality and nutritional content of the meals balanced. For example, one customer said, “I really like your concept and looked at your website again and again and really would like to buy something, but your sodium content is high”. It led us to have a complete review of our product line and make sure that our sodium content is 30% or below in each serving.
The Angel Planet Foods team loves hearing from you, and what you like and dislike. You inspire us to grow, and we can’t thank you enough for taking time to tell us what you think of our products. In addition to meeting us in-person at the market, you can give us your feedback on our website by clicking on each product.
The bottom line is that without your feedback and ideas, our team would not have created so many new products. Our customer community is where our roots are, and we look forward to giving back to our community as much as you have given to us!