Mama O’s Premium Kimchi began from a simple desire, Kheedim Oh tells me—to make the best kimchi possible.
In 2008, Kheedim had a hankering for kimchi, but found the premade products on the market to be less than desirable—some syrupy, some flavorless, and some simply loaded with additives. So, he asked his mom to teach him the family recipe.
“I started Mama O's around 2009 because I needed some kimchi, and all of the stuff in the stores was not to my liking,” Kheedim told me. “I didn't intend to start a business, I just needed it for myself and one thing led to another.”
From this inauspicious start, making kimchi for personal consumption, Kheedim soon found himself at the front of a rapidly expanding operation, producing several product lines, stocking the shelves of New York-area specialty stores like Zabar’s, Fairway Market, and Murray’s, and entering retailers like Dean & Deluca, Surfas, and Whole Foods with a significant presence outside the state.
With eating habits increasingly trending toward plant-based foods and fermented flavors becoming more and more marketable, the sky is the limit, it seems, for Mama O’s. The company is even available in select locations in North Carolina, Kansas, and Canada, proving the popularity of the company’s piquant offerings know no bounds.
With varieties of kimchi that include an original Napa cabbage variety, a vegan offering, a Super Spicy version, and a mild Mama O’s Premium White Kimchi, the company’s line has something to suit anyone.
“We make 6 different types of kimchi, half of which are vegan. We also invented kimchi paste which is what we use to make kimchi at home. By happy accident it is a terrific condiment,” Kheedim explained. “Food & Wine called it ‘the next Sriracha.’”
“We also make a homemade kimchi kit,” Kheedim added, giving consumers tuned in to the meal kit craze a shot at what might seem like a daunting dish to tackle from scratch.
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