SIMPLi seizes Peruvian cuisine’s ‘big momentum’

Sustainability-focused brand embraces regenerative agriculture and ethical sourcing, one outstanding product at a time.

Kelly Teal

March 27, 2024

3 Min Read

After winning a NEXTY Award at Natural Products Expo East in 2022 for its Regenerative Organic Certified Tri-Color Quinoa, natural products brand SIMPLi set off for Expo West 2024 as a NEXTY Award finalist for its Gigante Beans in the certified regenerative category and in the spices and condiments category for its Peruvian Spice Salt Blend. Though neither product ultimately won the top award, the Peruvian Spice Salt Blend, in particular, caused plenty of buzz on the trade show floor.

“Peruvian cuisine and flavors are having such a big momentum,” says Sarela Herrada, co-founder of SIMPLi, the Baltimore-based CPG brand that focuses on Regenerative Organic Certified supply chains.


Herrada was born in Peru and lived there until she was 14, when she moved to the United States. After earning an industrial engineering degree at Penn State, Herrada spent several years in the coffee and restaurant worlds. Then she and her husband, Matt Cohen, a finance expert, launched SIMPLi in 2020. Their goal? To run a global food company that prioritizes producers, people and the planet.

That ethos is reflected in SIMPLi’s products, which come from countries including Greece, Peru, Paraguay and Ukraine. And for the company’s latest market entrant, Herrada and Cohen chose to highlight Herrada’s home country as a way to help the area’s farmers deliver more cash crops.

“Peru is so diverse, having flavors from the coastline, having the beautiful Andes and then having the rainforests,” Herrada says. “We wanted to bring a product that is rich in those flavors.”


Meet SIMPLi’s Peruvian Spice Salt Blend, comprised of salt, huacatay, panca pepper, yellow pepper, cumin, pepper and garlic.

Huacatay is an annual herb from the marigold family. Panca pepper is a variety of chili pepper with a sweet and smoky flavor. The salt in this blend is hand-harvested from pools owned by a “kick-ass woman,” per Herrada, named Yolanda, who lives in Cusco. In addition to continuing her family’s work, Yolanda is an activist who lobbies the Peruvian government for farmers’ rights.

“Her product is incredible, and we just wanted to bring awareness to what she's doing and empower the women of this community to be able to bring back that power of farming and elevate a product to the export market,” Herrada says.

To that last point, combining the salt and spices delivers a product that allows consumers around the world to bring a little taste of Peru into their homes. SIMPLi’s new blend runs “on the finer side,” with just a touch of heat, Herrada says—and that’s intentional. “It can be used in marinades and sauces,” she explains.

Of course, the pièce de résistance of SIMPLi’s Spice Salt Blend is the ability to make authentic Peruvian cuisine such as Pachamanca, a traditional hot-stone dish from the Andes.

“You create a cave with hot stones and then you put chicken, pork, potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn in [there],” Herrada says. Then, after letting the mix sit for two hours, huacatay is added. The herb “gives that flavor that is so deeply rooted to the Inca culture of how food is flavored and seasoned in the Andes,” Herrada says. “So when people think of Peruvian food, it goes back to that flavor of huacatay. We're so excited to bring [it to] a mainstream audience in the U.S.”


SIMPLi showcased that flavor and others at its Expo West booth this year and Herrada couldn’t have been more thrilled about it. “We've had an incredible experience every year that we've been able to attend,” she says.

On the heels of Expo West, SIMPLi will continue to expand its retail distribution, with the trade show as a platform for achieving that goal.

“We want SIMPLi to be a household brand,” Herrada says. “When you think of elevated pantry staples, you think of SIMPLi; you fall in love because the product is really, really good. And then we educate you on to why it's good, and that’s because of the people and the soil behind it.” 

About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years' experience as a journalist, editor and analyst in industries including technology and health care. She serves as principal of Kreativ Energy LLC. Follow her on LinkedIn at /kellyteal/

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