The Leap from Love to Service

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As our Company’s first anniversary approaches, we’re celebrating the Australian food businesses we’ve been lucky enough to know, and the passion driving them toward success. We see it every day in our work, and we continue to be inspired and humbled by it. Last month, we got talking to some of the business founders in this industry at a forum we facilitated in association with the Naturally Good Expo at the ICC, Sydney.

We wanted to know one thing: What’s your story? From world travel to teething toddlers; from old favourites to unusual cravings, health and fitness to provenance and quality… the story unfolds differently for every business, with one thing in common: passion.

“It goes way, way back to the early days,” says James Bennett of Mindful Foods, “when Georgie was making granola for herself, and she wanted chocolate in her granola. We joined a co-op and shared the chocolate granola with our friends and family in the co-op. There were many months when we were just riding our bikes around Byron Bay, delivering little packets of granola, and writing all the ingredients on the back of each and every bag.

“The first step up after that was buying a printer so we could print labels to save us from writing the ingredients list again and again and again. And that was Mindful Foods 1.1. We’ve had 1.2, we’ve had 1.-everything, and here we are at our first expo, and it’s just amazing to have made it this far. It really has been a wonderful journey. I guess you could say, not only are we an organic food company, but we’ve grown organically, all the way from the bottom up.”

“Olga and I are health food fanatics,” says Alex Plotnikova of Extraordinary Foods. “But when we traveled the world and ended up in Australia, we missed some of the healthy snacks we had grown to like during our travels. We were trying to find them in local stores, and when we couldn’t, we decided to start our own healthy-snack company. We also discovered wonderful Australian farmers, and collaborate with local farmers in Byron Bay and the Northern Rivers region to make healthy snacks out of the things they’re growing. Our overarching goal is to make healthy food more exciting and more accessible, and we’re trying to fulfill this mission by making healthy and tasty products, and putting them in the right place at the right time, so people can have the access they need.”

“My beautiful boy had a very regressive form of autism,” says Jo Hall of Jo&Co Foods. “On his third birthday, we were singing Happy Birthday and it hit me like a ton of bricks: he was autistic.

“I had heard about dietary intervention, so I cut out all the nasties from his food and began to make everything from scratch, including Vegemite, which was a childhood favourite of mine – and that inspired me to come up with BMite.

“I also have a range of vegan dips, and my company is looking at expanding into every aisle in the supermarket. I want Jo&Co Foods to be trusted because people know that every single ingredient doesn’t harm the gut microbiome, which is incredibly important for the health of my child, and incredibly important for others out there who are feeding their families.”

“My Gran had a bakery,” says Lori Phillips of Lori’s Wholesome Pantry. “I grew up baking in her kitchen.

“This business started because we wanted to create a healthy snack option that everyone would enjoy; something which is sugar, dairy and gluten free, and vegan; but which takes on natural home-style flavours like apple crumble, carrot cake, gingerbread, and apricot eclair. These are flavours that will resonate with – and can be enjoyed by – the whole family.”

If there’s one thing we know from all our work within this industry – there’s an incredible amount of passion driving each and every business. And that, behind every successful Australian brand, there is a story…

What’s your story?