Black-Owned Food Brand ‘Mama’s Biscuits’ Is Changing The Game With All-Natural, ‘Unheard Of’ Flavors

For Lesley Riley, growing up in a tight-knit family, preparing food was a team effort. These cooking efforts led her to open her first restaurant in 2000 and cook up some of America’s favorite biscuits. The “biscuit darling” launched her Black-owned, women-led brand, Mama’s Biscuits, with a recipe that offered an all-natural, clean-label, ready-to-eat biscuit to the market. 

“Both my grandparents made sure that preparing food wasn’t a task left to just one individual,” Riley told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “Everyone in the household had a hand in preparing and cooking meals. It was how we bonded as [a] family. So over time, cooking [and] baking became a therapeutic activity for me.”

Riley created her unique recipe in October 2014, before launching her online store in May 2015. Facing challenges like scaling and capital to get her biscuits on retail shelves, Riley rebranded in 2019 and figured out how to produce her products on a major scale, within budget and without compromising quality.

Mama’s Biscuits, The Only Clean-Label Biscuit on the Market

Riley shared that she drew inspiration from her childhood memories of food and family meals when creating Mama’s Biscuits. “I try to recreate that feeling of innocent childhood love and nostalgia with every bite. The biscuit is like a hug from your mom or grandma. It makes you feel good. That’s the feeling I want you to leave with,” she said. 

The history-making gourmet biscuits stand apart from other brands’ recipes as she has introduced “unheard-of” flavors to the market. “Our products offer convenience-driven shoppers great-tasting, ‘heat-and-eat’ options made with simple ingredients [like] real dairy and butter,” Riley said, noting the highly processed foods that traditionally fill the frozen grocery aisle. 

“I love to constantly push the boundaries of balancing flavors and pairing the right ingredients with each other to create a unique, delicious experience,” she continued. Mama’s Biscuits offers flavors such as her original buttermilk flavor, Bananas Foster with Salted Caramel, Chicken Pot Pie, Spiced Mango, and Kahlua Stuffed Brie.

Mama’s Biscuits are sold in over 5,000 retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Target, Kroger, Mariano’s, and Wegmans.  

Mama’s Biscuits Incubator

Riley’s brand-new Mama’s Biscuits Culinary Incubator lives on the campus of Hagerstown Community College. The newly formed partnership with the community college began in May 2022 to offer mentorship to entrepreneurs in the culinary space. Mama’s Biscuits Culinary Incubator offers hourly use of a commercial kitchen, on-site mentorship, business development, financial investment, and other support to entrepreneurs producing food and beverage packaged goods. 

“This is an honor and a full circle moment for me,” Riley shared. “The Culinary Incubator mentors and inspires the next generation of food and beverage startup companies.” 

She explained that the Culinary Incubator currently mentors 15 food and beverage product owners, “leveraging the commercial kitchen and mentorship to develop sustainable products consumers will value, generationally.”

Feeding Faith Initiative

Mama’s Biscuits is a brand with a mission to serve and continue to give back to the community. “Our commitment comes [with] giving back through both [of] our initiatives, ‘Feeding Faith‘ and ‘Biscuits & Blanket,'” Riley said.

Through both initiatives, the brand collaborates with local and national organizations to offer services, provide care bags, and supply other resources. “Our call to action starts with our valued community. We started ‘Feeding Faith’ because sometimes we all need a little help. We teamed up with local agencies such as the Department of Aging, Frederick Rescue Mission, Religious Coalition Shelter, Frederick Community College, and Community Action to donate hundreds/thousands of biscuits every month,” the Mama’s Biscuits website read.

“The Feeding Faith Initiative is a program based on both my and my company’s core values, Hebrews 11:1. It’s important that we meet people where they are,” Riley explained.

“When we feed you, we always remind you to keep the faith.”

Expanding the Mama’s Biscuits Team

“It’s an exciting time,” Riley shared. “We are just getting started.”

Mama’s Biscuits brand has expanded its team into the breakfast category with its newly-themed breakfast sandwich line set to launch in major retailers in late Fall 2023. 

Riley will make history again through her brand following its launch of the first plant-based, soy-free biscuit sandwich on the market. “The exciting partnership between Mama’s Biscuits, JUST Egg, and Beyond Meat is a huge opportunity,” she said. The sandwich will land in major retailers and expand to coffee shops, universities, schools, hospitals, and food services.