Cameroonian-French mixed martial artist Francis Ngannou has established himself as one of the biggest names in mixed-martial art on the continent. But before then, he had worked at a sand mine in his early years but by his twenties, he had moved to Paris where he discovered MMA fighting which he picked up as a way to make some money. His career has been one filled with multiple twists and turns but he has stuck with it and has had many highlights including becoming the Former Undisputed Heavyweight Champion.
Today, Ngannou is working with JarToGo on its advisory board to help. JarToGo is the first ever plastic-free cloud kitchen network working to connect consumers seeking affordable, quality, pre-packaged meals options, from multiple vendors, with qualified restaurants/vendors, seeking high-volume distribution, with zero upfront costs, solar-powered logistics and mobile e-commerce all while reducing waste, especially with single-use plastic.
Here we interview Ngannou on his career, his recent collaboration with JarToGo and how JarToGo helps him achieve his goals.
You are an acclaimed mixed-martial artist, how did you get started down this career path?
Honestly, I didn’t exactly plan on MMA being my career path. I grew up working in the sand mine, and I wanted to be a fighter. And to me, a fighter meant boxing.
Once I finally made it to Paris, a friend took me to a gym where MMA was involved. Shortly after, I did an MMA fight to make some money because I didn’t have much and it allowed me to support my family. So then I stuck with it, and next thing you know a kid from Cameroon became the Former Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world ten years later.
How important are food and nutrition in your line of work?
It’s very important. Everyone loves to eat well but when you’re trying to be the best version of yourself, it takes discipline to eat healthily and have good nutrition. Of course, it’s important in sports but for everyone. Food is fuel and keeps your body going properly.
What made you interested in collaborating with JarToGo?
I believe Akwasi and his team are very passionate about solving problems not only in Africa but also in the world. There are numerous problems with accessing healthy meals in some areas of Africa. When I learned more about Jar2Go’s mission of sustainability and their process to make healthy food more accessible and affordable, I was in. Africa is home and I want to be a part of where we’re going for the future as a people.
Will JarToGo make it easier for people to eat healthier? If yes, how?
JarToGo ensures that all food items are vacuum sealed and pre-packaged in guaranteed clean packaging, without exposure to plastic toxins and microplastic contamination. By using proprietary thermal management technology and moisture management, we keep
food stable and hot/cold, at food-safe levels until received by the customer. Meal packages are pre-served and hermetically sealed in serving-size portions. Then, we apply thermal processes to prevent the growth or transmission of foodborne pathogens. Our services are low-cost and enable more people to access and afford high-quality nutrition, with minimally processed ingredients in all of our products. Consumers today are concerned about microplastics in the food they eat and the effects of highly processed food ingredients which are linked to obesity, heart diseases and more, yet this is all that is available due to existing, limited food logistics available to the restaurants and other last-mile food retailers. JarToGo makes healthy food accessible, anywhere, which enables healthier eating everywhere.
Tell me about what you think the average person would be excited about with JarToGo the most.
For the first time, people can access meals from their favorite vendors, wherever they go, without any waiting, delivery fees or bad service from a delivery service courier. This is like having the meal-prepping service that follows you around with a selection of 100 different meal varieties kept safe, fresh, and ready for you to simply reach out.
How does JarToGo work?
Vendors join the network and gain access to a fast-growing database of pre-enrolled consumers that have signed up to access plastic-free, sterile, and convenient food services. They are not assessed any upfront fee to qualify.
Consumers also set up service by signing up and setting up a custom set of known pick-up locations, typically on-site at work, school or gas-station convenience stores near them. They can browse and pick up food 24/7 from the largest network of food vendors, featuring a large variety of packaged meals, displayed and ready to eat instantly. Think of the Costco rotisserie chicken stand selling hot chicken, but for all other types of food. JarTogo foods can be picked and easily stored at home for a family’s weekly consumption of real, wholesome, and affordable meals. All ingredients and meals are sourced from local vendors at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional food delivery.
One of JarToGo’s goals is to reduce food and plastic waste, can you tell me how they intend to do this?
The largest source of daily plastic waste in urban areas is food and beverage packaging. Virtually all food packaging is made from single-use plastics and other materials, which are non-recyclable.
JarToGo’s services are only provided in standardized, reusable, plastic-free packaging. The food jars are collected through a mobile app, sanitized, and reused after each service trip. This means that any vendor that uses JarToGo can eliminate 99% of all plastics from their food delivery logistics. At scale, JarToGo removes the dependence on single-use plastic as the only means of fulfilling last-minute food delivery, which is mostly food taken to go and consumed at locations other than the preparation site.
To reduce food waste, JarToGo stabilizes the temperature, sterility and sensory traits of its products. As a result, each product’s shelf life is extended from a standard 6-8 hour window of safe consumption to between 36-60 hours. This means the food has at least 3x the length of time to remain available on the market and reduces the overall amount of unsold food. The extended shelf life also allows for expanded distribution across cities and regions, which does not limit JarToGo to a 5-mile radius, as is the case with most third-party services such as Glovo, UberEats or DoorDash.