ForceForward is a video interview series from ForceBrands that highlights what businesses and teams look like tomorrow. 

Ayeshah Abuelhiga describes the overnight success of Mason Dixie Foods as a ‘happy accident.’

What began as a popular Washington D.C.-based restaurant with a cult following quickly developed into a one-of-a-kind product line that disrupted the frozen category. Today, Mason Dixie Foods produces the only ready-to-bake, clean-label frozen biscuits on the market.

“When we launched in our first Whole Foods, we outsold butter and milk that day. We sold 150 boxes in three hours. That’s when I knew this was going to be a lot bigger than just a tchotchke at the restaurant,” Abuelhiga told ForceBrands.

We caught up with Abuelhiga to learn about Mason Dixie Foods’ journey, how her commitment to diversity is a guarantee among team members, and more.

Check out some highlights below:

On the Frozen Opportunity
“There was white space for everything back then, in 2015. We were entering into Whole Foods at a really interesting time. This was pre-Amazon, they were looking for investments at that time for Freshly, and trying to scale Whole Foods to include 365 stores. They were really looking at ways to get more conventional shoppers into a Whole Foods and not just feeding into the typical organic vibe. It took big thinkers like our Marketing Manager who saw a bigger vision for frozen.”

On Building a Diverse Culture
“Diversity for us is not a program, it’s a guarantee. It’s not an option. We search high and low to make sure we find the best people for the job, regardless of background, and regardless of experience.”

On Business During a Pandemic
“COVID has been really bittersweet — bitter in that a lot of these retailers are still struggling to this day to keep up with demand. For us, it was sweet in that there’s been a lot of focus and visibility on the frozen category like never before. Categories that were historically down are now up.”

Watch the full episode here.