Our story

SIMPLi's Founders

Native Peruvian Sarela Herrada and her husband Matt Cohen co-founded SIMPLi at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Their shared love of food and travel, Sarela’s deep roots in South American foodways and culture, and a joint mission to simplify global food supply chains led them to create an ingredients company that prioritizes people and planet. SIMPLi was born as a solution that offers transparency, prioritizes authentic single-origin ingredients, and supports farming communities through sustainable and fair labor practices.

The young couple (Sarela was 29 and Matt 31) initially started by importing quinoa directly from family-owned farms in Peru and bringing this high-quality ingredient to U.S. customers. Quinoa’s popularity stateside had caused the ingredient to become westernized. Consumers had a general awareness of it, yet there was a lack of transparency with how it was imported from Peru – small indigenous farmers were not seeing the economic benefits of the expansive quinoa market. When Sarela and Matt looked more closely, they found that it was the people in between – the intermediaries and brokers – who were taking advantage of the farmers. Offering an authentic and responsibly-sourced Peruvian product to the U.S. market is something they are both proud of, and is a significant differentiator for the brand.

When Sarela and Matt launched SIMPLi, the couple focused on foodservice, quickly signing on numerous accounts. Three months later, as the pandemic took hold, restaurants closed one by one, temporarily impacting this division of the business. With an entrepreneurial mindset, Sarela and Matt quickly and strategically pivoted to focus their efforts on retail (brick-and-mortar partners like Whole Foods Market), direct-to-consumer e-commerce, and meal kits (e.g. Daily Harvest) to drive critical revenue to the company. Since then, the company has grown exponentially. SIMPLi is currently in more than 500 stores nationwide, 1,000+ restaurants/quick serve restaurants, and in numerous leading sustainable prepared meal companies and online marketplaces.

Today, SIMPLi supports smallholder farmers with resources and fair wages by ethically sourcing delicious, nutrient-dense, single-origin pantry ingredients from South America, Europe, and beyond. Sarela and Matt’s goal with SIMPLi is to simplify and transform a flawed food system into one that is equitable and regenerative – good for the planet, people and producers. In an effort to return to indigenous methods of regenerative and organic farming, SIMPLi works with native farming communities around the globe to transition their land to Regenerative Organic Certified® (ROC®), a method of farming that restores and regenerates the planet rather than depletes it (and also has strict criteria for worker and animal welfare). In late 2022, Sarela was appointed to the board of directors of the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA), the 501(c)3 organization that oversees the certification process. SIMPLi is poised to become one of the leading ROC ingredients companies with certified products offered through its food service and retail channels, along with a strong pipeline of transitional farms on the way to certification, made possible through SIMPLi’s infrastructure and global distribution footprint.

Our Founders

Sarela Herrada and Matt Cohen.