House of Pops jumped at the opportunity when Lebanese food company Mama Rita approached them for a collaboration, said the firm’s co-founder and CEO, Mazen Kanaan.
“We love to partner with other small businesses, especially when we are big fans of Mama Rita at the office. Lebanese food is popular in the UAE, where there is a large expat community, and also because the cuisine is very inclusive for different dietary preferences. There are fish, meat and vegan options etc.,” he told FoodNavigator-Asia.
Launched in 2020 by mother-daughter duo Rita and Jessica Kahawaty, Mama Rita offers food delivery and catering of home-style Lebanese dishes.
“When we met with the Mama Rita team, we brainstormed together on the flavours that would complement their menu while staying true to House of Pops’ principle of using all-natural, plant-based, and allergen-free ingredients.
“Although there are plenty of flavours to choose from, we narrowed down the ingredients to make sure everyone can enjoy our treats. For example, the ashta-pistachio combination is a Lebanese staple, but it wasn’t suitable to do a dairy and nut ice pop,” said Kanaan.
In addition, he emphasised that while House of Pops is “always excited” to work with other brands, the collaboration needs to make sense and partners must share the same values.
“We have our own innovation plans. At the same time, we also have a lot of collaboration ideas with other brands that we are working on and will be announced soon.”
Taste of home
The two firms experimented with several Levantine flavours, and eventually came up with the five flavours that have been launched.
“The flavours are mainly inspired by the typical family lunch people would have back in Lebanon homes. The idea came naturally when Jessica shared the story of Mama Rita with us — on how the recipes were passed from her grandmother to her mother, and now her.
“People can now round off an authentic and wholesome meal from Mama Rita with this specially created frozen lolly range. The flavours offer a taste of Lebanon with a House of Pops twist, such as the peach slices in Peach Paradise and the organic coconut milk in Cold Brew. The response has been great so far,” Kanaan shared.
Other noteworthy flavours include Orange Blossom, which drew inspiration from the traditional hot orange blossom tea brewed by teta (grandma) after a home-cooked meal; and Toot A Beirut, named after a Lebanese jingle and made with wild mulberries that grow across different regions of Lebanon.
The collaboration range is available at House of Pops stores, online on both House of Pops and Mama Rita’s websites, as well as via food delivery apps such as Deliveroo, Talabat, and Noon.