Shazia Saleem of Oh My Good Nosh
Meet Shazia Saleem, the founder of Oh My Good Nosh, a brand that now offers some of the nation’s favourite ready meals, that are suitable for a halal diet. The range includes popular dishes including pizza, pasta, and pie, which all comply with the Islamic and Halal diet restrictions.
About the founder and CEO
Launching originally as ieat foods, building this brand was no easy feat for determined entrepreneur Shazia, with no experience in the food industry, the launch took eight years of hard work, which included Shazia putting in the hours on evenings and weekends, alongside her full-time day job.
Shazia was determined to create her dishes utilising an ethical supply chain, which incorporated her own personal values into the products and their creation. This proposition set her aside from many of the multinational ready meal providers already in the market, with many exercising a core business goal of offering meals at a low price point, which can result in diminished quality and poorer treatment of those involved in the production line.
Not only did Shazia need her dishes to be halal but also ‘tayyab,’ which means ‘wholesome’ or pure’ in Arabic. This includes being conscious of over processing, animal welfare, ingredient sourcing, treatment of workers and traceability. Shazia found this to be less common in the UK than you would expect, which proved to add another hurdle to her journey, with the necessity of now educating the industry to encourage others to comply with these ethical objectives.
Shazia’s passion for building a halal ready meal line was brought about during her time at university. She was a long way from home with no access to her mother’s fantastic cooking, with little access to high-quality halal food options. After researching and talking to other Muslims, she discovered that there were some British Muslims who couldn’t enjoy the inherently British food that they loved due to the lack of halal options.
The brand, then known as ieat, initially came up against struggles which involved individual ingredients in the meals. With 7 out of 12 of the products containing a vinegar based ingredient, including Worcestershire sauce, pesto, and mustard, it went back to the drawing board to ensure that all Muslims could enjoy the products. The recipes were reworked to retain the great flavour but remove the vinegar. Shazia understood that there is a debate over whether vinegar is halal, due to the fermenting process used to create it, therefore she felt it was best to omit it entirely from the recipes, in order to remain accessible to everyone.
The recent acquisition of Foodery has lead to ieat evolving into the new brand; Oh My Good Nosh. Continuing to provide ethical products, including new meal kits, soups and further ready meals, inspired by world foods. Shazia has built an impressive brand that offers ethical and great tasting products that offer a wealth of dining options to a Halal community.
You can now find Oh My Good Nosh in Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco across the UK.
Image credits: Oh My Good Nosh