'Taking on junk food': Australian organic children's snack company targeting China launch

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

Whole Kids was launched in 2005 by husband and wife James and Monica Meldrum, who wanted to produce “healthier and nutritionally superior” children’s snacks.
Whole Kids was launched in 2005 by husband and wife James and Monica Meldrum, who wanted to produce “healthier and nutritionally superior” children’s snacks.

Related tags: Organic foods, Australia, Snacks, kids, Healthy food

Australian organic children's snack company Whole Kids, which was recently listed in Westpac’s Top 20 Businesses of Tomorrow, is looking to launch in China as it seeks to build on a 30% rise in sales in the last year.

Whole Kids was launched in 2005 by husband and wife James and Monica Meldrum, who wanted to produce “healthier and nutritionally superior”​ children’s snacks

Organic food for kids

According to Monica, Whole Kids has Australia’s largest range of organic snacks for kids, comprising over 50 product lines across infant and health food categories.

“Whole Kids products are certified by Australian Certified Organic (ACO) and made with quality ingredients that contain absolutely no artificial additives or unnecessary junk,” ​Monica told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

The Whole Kids range is targeted at children from six months old with ‘Frooshie’ pure organic fruit puree pouches, to dry snacks for children new to solids such as Sweetcorn and Carrot Turtle Puffs.

It also caters for children’s lunch boxes, with snacks for children aged between 12 months to 9 years old, such as Manuka Honey Popcorn and Cheese Grissini.

Among others, it also has organic fruit bars, apple cookies, as well as the Barefoot bar that contains just three ingredients, is minimally processed and is great for children with allergies.

“The Whole Kids team is constantly coming up with new product innovations and new products that our customers want based on feedback and focus groups,”​ Monica told us.

“While they (the products) are aimed at children between six months of age to around eight years, we know that they are also a big hit with mums.”

Production and growth

The company has manufacturing facilities in Australia and New Zealand and its products are sold in Australian national retail chains, including Coles and Chemist Warehouse, and has one of the widest presence in independent stores across Australia, according to Monica.

“We sell our products in both Australia and international markets, and it is sold in over 2,000 retail outlets as well as directly online,” ​she said.

Monica said the business has grown 30% in the past year alone.

“Whole Kids is proud to export to the Middle East and South East Asia, and is currently working to launch sustainably into China,” ​she said.

“We plan to continue this growth and expansion into the future to further grow our business to become a truly global leader in kids’ health.”

Taking on Big Food

In early 2000, after being chosen by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs to lead a team to a remote village in Indonesia to deliver an aid programme to children living in poverty, Monica vowed to use her skills and influence to make a difference.

She and her husband used their life savings to develop and launch the business.

“One of our biggest challenges is overcoming the marketing tactics of big junk food brands who contract up customers by offering large incentives for exclusive supply,” ​Monica revealed to us.

“Huge advertising budgets of these brands means we have to think smarter and act differently to get our voice heard.”

Along with the other top 20 businesses, Whole Kids will receive a two-week study tour to Silicon Valley and a tailored $50,000 professional services package to boost their business.

There will also be a mentor matching programme with notable Australian business leaders.

The Businesses of Tomorrow were independently assessed by Deloitte and selected by a high-profile judging panel, out of more than 1,000 applications.

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