When I came across the MA-HA VIRTUE booth at this year’s Winter Fancy Food Show, I immediately felt welcomed by Founder and Chief Executive Officer Raha Jamalian-Hershey. We reconnected again after the show so I could hear more about her health-focused company and the many juice products it provides.
“Our gourmet portfolio is based on our roots—how we were brought up with what tasted fabulous while serving as a remedy,” Raha told me. “I was inspired to create the brand after seeing so many products on the shelf that are advertised as healthy but filled with sugar.”
MA-HA VIRTUE supplies juices in pomegranate, raspberry, blackberry, and sour cherry flavors, as well as two incredibly unique “SAFF-SOURS” which are pomegranate and sour cherry juices infused with a patented formula that has a high amount of saffron.
“While it is true that you can find pomegranate, raspberry, and cherry juices, I grew up on wild pomegranate, wild raspberries and blackberries, and sour cherry. It was a completely different taste,” Raha explained. “Our fruit juices are also very high in antioxidants and there is zero sugar added, so they are yummy yet guilt free.”
She continued, “I grew up in Germany, but I'm originally from Iran. There were a lot of natural remedies, and saffron was a major player as an antidepressant. So, I said to myself, I want to do something that's functional. We want to tell people that it is possible to feed you and your family in a fun and tasty way that is also very healthy.”
The saffron MA-HA uses in its patented fairy dust formula is diamond-grade and comes from the top of safflowers grown in Iran. Raha relayed that in her experience, growers produce no more than 3,000 kilos a year, if they are lucky, because each gram of saffron is about 150,000 flowers picked.
“Right now, you cannot purchase our fairy dust on its own. In 2023, we will come out with a fairy dust in different flavors from our own fruits,” Raha divulged. “We are also expanding our juice line, because our blueberries are some of the best in the world. We’re hoping in Q4 for the holidays we are going to have a limited edition SAFF-SOUR blueberry as well.”
MA-HA also produces saff-stachios, which are pistachios that are coated in the fairy dust formula. Additionally, the company’s BLACK SAFF-LAVA LIME salt is also infused with the formula—perfect for fish and steaks or a garnish for the rim of fancy cocktails.
Not only will MA-HA be expanding its product line this year, but it plans to expand its distribution footprint worldwide as well.
“We're opening up to the GCC countries, which is a very big deal for us. We will also be in Mexico in 2023 and in Japan, Thailand, and Singapore in late 2023/2024,” Raha continued. “The reason we have been able to expand to all these different countries is that our juices work perfectly for cocktails or mocktails and are currently being used by some of the best mixologists in the world. However, it is not only a mixer, but also a functional booster or pure juice—a truly omni-experience. We’ve also been looked at by airlines, a hospital school, the military, and more, because nobody else has what we have. We are a monopoly on many levels from quality to the rareness of how our fruits are designed and grown. The saffron flavor is so intense, and not only is it an aphrodisiac, but it literally makes you giggle.”
Raha and her team tell this enchanting story through the lens of a fairytale, with elegant packaging and marketing materials to support the brand.
“Through this brand, I am living out a fairy tale, and I want the whole world to live this fairy tale. We created fairies for various aspects of our brand that tell the story of our products and practices. We have the Raspberry Fairy who nurtures her fruit, the Saffron Fairy who shares its many benefits, and more. Every single ingredient we have has a benefit to it and a fairy attached,” Raha said. “I believe the highest honor of an artist is to make young to old people happy, and if I can do that through the taste and benefit of my products, I graduate.”
Creating an interactive quality for the brand, MA-HA will be expanding its presence via social media in the coming months and will be telling fairy tales for young people there. The brand even has a Floor is Lava-style board game for the whole family to enjoy.
As this up-and-coming brand continues to grow, Deli Market News will be here reporting the latest.