A Native Superfood
Hayley Blieden, managing director of The Australian Superfood Co, shares how native ingredients are attracting brands and customers alike. By Doris Prodanovic.
THE AUSTRALIAN Superfood Co works with indigenous communities and local growers to source native ingredients to the food and beverage industry, as well as consumers, all year round.
Founder, chief dietitian and managing director Hayley Blieden launched The Australian Superfood Co four years ago at a time, she says, native ingredients weren’t on the map.
“You’d talk to consumers and when you’d ask them what they thought Australian native food was, they’d say Vegemite or lamingtons,” Blieden told Food & Drink Business. “We’re noticing this is slowly changing with native ingredients used on shows like Masterchef, in high-end restaurants and cafes. Bars and spirit makers are also using it as botanicals in their cocktails and drinks.”
The supply chain for native ingredients – such as Kakadu plum, lemon myrtle and wattle seed – is fragmented, says Blieden, with many food and beverage manufacturers often finding it difficult to source the ingredients. This is where The Australian Superfood Co comes in.
“We are now the number one supplier of native ingredients for the food and beverage market. They’ll come to us because we have a big inventory store, a large network of growers and can guarantee supply. We’re able to process requirements from large multinationals and they can go forward with their range.”
Companies such a Remedy Drinks, ice-cream brand Connoisseur and Byron Bay Cookie Company are all creating product ranges using native ingredients.
Whether it is for a health angle and its nutritional value, or for flavour based on provenance, native ingredients are attracting brands and customers alike, Blieden says.
“We’re seeing these ingredients enter the mainstream and penetrate the majors,” she says. “Before, they were inaccessible and unaffordable – people didn’t know where to get the ingredients or how to use them. That’s what we’re doing with our experts, dieticians and teams, who are going through to food quality, management and supply chain to ensure our customers and consumers can access these ingredients, and to have for the industry to use them.”
The Australian Superfood Co was one of six recipients in the Mars Food’s Seeds of Change Accelerator grant program, and is continuing to expand its current offering, which includes native fruit powders, native herbs and spices, native fruit and herb extracts, paleo granolas, raw bars and superfood fruits.