At Dafero, we believe in using food for social good, crafting delicious yet sugar-free sweets that everyone can enjoy while supporting and employing the most vulnerable women in our communities. We started off in 2018, launching the first whole-fruit date spreads in the US!
Technically, our birthday is on February 14th. The funny backstory is our founder, Lina Zdruli, didn't have a date that night. So she just stayed home, and started a date-fruit company 😂!
Lina started Dafero when she was working at the World Bank on regional refugee support programs. She loved her job and the other international leadership projects she was working on, but almost two years of travelling internationally two weeks and general stress were taking a toll on her health. She got the "wakeup call" after fainting twice from stomach pain, both times when she was back in the United States. Tests showed she was not intolerant to gluten, lactose or specific foods, but to the artificial ingredients everyday food in North America is unfortunately packed with.
Armed with a dozen pounds of date fruits from abroad, she started to bake no-sugar, plant-based desserts and breakfast foods like brownie and pancakes. After colleagues and friends with no dietary restraints devoured the treats, she realized the flavor of dates had a wider appeal beyond the health-conscious crowd. Online research showed no one else was making an equivalent product, so Lina launched Dafero!
She employed local refugee women to produce the spreads at a commercial kitchen in Washington DC. The social enterprise grew to a full online training program on employment, health, financial literacy and other general life skills. Dafero digitized their internal curriculum and made it publicly available for all to use, free of charge. The sales of date spreads funded these public education programs, and now the Kura Foundation by Dafero has created almost 50 courses in dozens of languages, available for all to use!
Today, Dafero is available throughout the US and Canada, and it's sales of plant-based, no-sugar-added date spreads have helped thousands of families reduce the added sugars in their diets, without compromising flavor. In fact, parents always tell us how their children, from toddlers to teenagers, ask for our date spreads instead of sugar-filled alternatives!
We use dates because they are naturally sweet, have a low glycemic load and rich in antioxidants and fiber. For our flavored date spreads, we use international superfoods such as cinnamon, organic cacao powder and lemon oil, sustainably sourced from family farms. In fact, to find the cinnamon we use in our Cinnadate jars, Lina travelled to Indonesia with her brother Taylor to source together the richest variety possible, which brings out the aroma and flavors of the original date base.
Dafero has been featured in international publications, including Forbes, Voice of America, Aspiring Entrepreneur and Bridge for Billions.