career

How an Aussie mum turned her healthy idea into a million-dollar business in one year.

A Sydney mum’s desperation to find something healthy and filling for her kids’ breakfasts inspired her to create a successful food business.

Natasha Cromer had the idea to make breakfast smoothie bases with “no sugar, no additives, no nasties” when her son Ben was born eight years ago and she started to think about what was best for her family to be eating.

“Apart from the arms constantly reaching out for the Cocoa Pops, it was the additives and the added sugar in cereals that was frightening. For instance, a standard sized Up & Go has about 20 grams, or five teaspoons of sugar, when the World Health Organisation recommends we have six a day,” Natasha said in an interview with news.com.au.

Natasha with her three children. Source: Wholey Foods website.

As Natasha's second and third children - Finlay, 6, and Matilda, 4 - arrived, she slowly developed her idea, using her background in marketing to create something that would appeal to busy parents.

“My kids have always loved smoothies but a fruit smoothie isn’t substantial enough to replace a whole meal so I thought why don’t we grind up all the really best ingredients from a bowl of muesli — things like oats, almonds, coconut, chia and pepita seeds and turn all that into a breakfast smoothie blend,” the 41-year-old told news.com.au.

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After years of development, getting funding together and investing $300,000 of her own money, the mum-of-three launched Wholey Foods with its first two products, vanilla and chocolate flavoured smoothie bases, which made it onto Woolworth's shelves in March this year.

Natasha equates her idea of including ground-up nuts, oats and seeds to “a bit like chopping up the vegetables and hiding them in the spaghetti Bolognese”.

“Because let’s be honest, even though my kids do enjoy a healthy breakfast, they probably wouldn’t say they enjoy eating things like chia and pepita," she said.

The business is going well in its first year, with Woolworths forecasts predicting the brand will turnover more than $1 million retail sales by March next year.

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