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#BehindtheBrand – Meet Tenielle Maris, Chief Marketing Officer At UCOOK

#BehindtheBrand – Meet Tenielle Maris, Chief Marketing Officer at UCOOK

Established in 2014, UCOOK came about as a more convenient way to help people make dinner. Within two years, UCOOK had taken the country by storm as South Africa’s favourite meal-kit delivery company. But that was just the beginning….

Now, UCOOK is all about bringing even more convenient solutions straight to your door, with new offerings like ready-made, flash-frozen Craft Meals, Baby Food and Wine being just a click away. However, the brand is also revolutionising the way South Africans eat, by teaching consumers where their food comes from, how they can support small businesses and farmers with every order, and making every meal as convenient – and wholesome – as possible.

We chatted to Tenielle Maris, Chief Marketing Officer for this young and vibrant brand.


  1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your career journey before your current role at UCOOK?

I’m a working mom with two young children, a marketer and nutrition blogger. I started my career in Ad sales, moving into FMCG marketing, advertising and then back into the FMCG space. I found my passion in understanding the human psyche and what drives decision making and brand love, becoming obsessed with consumer insights and how to, as a brand, connect with human beings on a deeper level.

Along my journey I became fascinated by the role of digital in driving brand growth and the rapidly changing e-commerce landscape. My love for nutrition, brand building and developing consumer-centric strategies for brands is what led me to UCOOK.


  1. What do you love most about working for UCOOK and the team you work with today?

I love working in a space where culture, creativity and innovation drive the engine of the business, with a product concept that is hyper relevant in consumers’  lives – more so than ever before as a result of COVID-19 and the rise in online shopping in SA.

I also get to work with a young, talented and passionate marketing team who inspire me every day.


  1. Are there any unique challenges/highlights that come with marketing a brand like UCOOK?

While UCOOK is a market leader in the meal-kit space in SA, the category is becoming more competitive by the day and, as a business and brand, we need to stay on our toes, constantly ensuring we are ahead of the curve. This also makes it an incredibly exciting space to be in – it’s fast-paced, ever-changing, with a world of opportunities on our doorstep.


  1. In your opinion, what skills and qualities are key to being a successful brand custodian?

A successful brand custodian has to have an innate understanding of human behaviour and the empathy that comes along with that, collaboration, creativity and a holistic understanding of how to create a successful business.


  1. What makes you a good fit for this role?

I have an insatiable hunger to understand what drives consumer decision-making. That together with my ability to work under pressure and to push boundaries makes me the right fit for this type of position.


  1. Your philosophy around brand management?

If you want to be the best at your game, you can’t ever make assumptions about your customers. You have to be able to step into your customers’ shoes, by getting up close and personal with them, and then channel those insights into everything you do.


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