I'm often surprised by people who won't spend money on breakfast. They happily blow $3.00 to $4.00 on a latte but baulk at $0.45 to $1.80 for a top-quality breakfast that sets them up for the morning with a slow, sustained energy release.
A quality breakfast also provides fibre, omega-3, essential fatty acids and vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium. We ignore this at our peril.
For five years I tried to find a muesli on the market that met my taste and nutritional needs.
I wanted a natural, untoasted blend that didn't taste like cardboard and wasn't full of fillers, coarse oats and powdered milk.
I was training for Ironman endurance events and needed a breakfast to set me up for a good workout and help my recovery.
So I started making my own.
I then started making various natural muesli blends for loved ones with different needs:
- Gluten-free for my coeliac husband.
- Nuts and seeds for my fructose-intolerant friend.
- Just fruit - naturally sweet for my nieces and nephews.
At this point, I realised I had a range.
For the next nine months, I sourced ingredients, packs and boxes and collaborated to design labels and built a website.
At the same time, I upskilled to Department of Health standards by completing Food Safety Handler and Food Safety Supervisor courses.
My dear friend Rollo let me use his commercial kitchen rent-free on weekends. There I chopped, mixed, weighed and labelled the muesli while my kind husband packed and stacked the heavy boxes.
In 2006, with a truckload of naivety and no sales experience, I hit the road with Flip Shelton's natural muesli range - comprising three blends in 750 g resealable packs:
- The one with fruit and nuts.
- The one with just fruit.
- The one with nuts and seeds.
On my first day of sales repping, two places said yes!
Special thanks go to these kind visionaries, whose support gave me retail confidence in my product.
In 2008 I launched my five-grain porridge which added heirloom grains barley, rye, spelt and triticale to traditional rolled oats.
Not only was this blend unique, it showcased Australia's biodiversity and supported farmers growing 'boutique' grains (of which spelt is a fascinating example).
Farmers are very important to me. I come from a long line, which first reached Australia in 1850.
Seal of approval
In 2009 I added a gluten-free natural muesli, approved by Coeliac Australia.
With 1 in 100 Australians suffering from coeliac disease (including my husband, two godchildren and three friends) I'd been on a mission to create a special blend for them.
My wonderful test subjects gave this natural muesli the thumbs up. We also found that you definitely needn't be coeliac to enjoy it!
2011 saw me release three of my products in handy 75 g mini packs.
Designed for today's busy lifestyles, these convenient packs let fans, kids, students, campers and travellers eat like a king at breakfast wherever they were - after gym, before a meeting, at work or as an afternoon snack.
In 2013, I relaunched my entire range.
After seven years, it was time to brighten the labels, refresh the website and get fab new photos with thanks to James Penlidis.
Responding to generous customer and retailer feedback, I tweaked some recipes and left others the same.
The future will see even more delicious new blends and a muesli slice. But that history is still in the making ...