FNA F&B Trailblazers Podcast Episode 5

PODCAST: Whole Kids’ Monica Meldrum on starting a business with family and running a B Corp

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

PODCAST: Whole Kids’ Monica Meldrum on starting a business with family and running a B Corp

Related tags Podcast Organic Australia

In this episode of our Food and Beverage Trailblazers podcast, we speak to Monica Meldrum, the CEO and Co-founder of Australia’s largest organic children’s snacks brand Whole Kids, about how she manages personal and professional challenges in running a family business, and what it means to run a firm certified as a B Corporation.

Whole Kids is the first food Australian food business to be certified as a B Corporation, and Monica has also gotten a number of awards under her belt including, most recently, the 2019 Australian Organic Business of the Year.

Meldrum told FoodNavigator-Asia​ that she started Whole Kids​ together with her husband James after seeing a gap in the market for healthy snacks specifically targeted for children in Australia.

“One of my siblings was complaining a lot about how foods here that big food manufacturers were producing were completely overprocessed,”​ she said.

“This led me to take a look at the industry, [and] felt that I could start a business that stood for more if we could create a range of products that were really, truly healthy for children.

“We made a small batch and started by testing this at an organic expo in Sydney, and decided that if the response was good, we’d throw everything into it and go for it. We received 60 orders from stores there and then, and so the next week we quit our jobs and just went for it.”

On working with family, Meldrum added that the key is to make sure that roles and responsibilities in the business do not overlap.

“The key to working with family is to really early on identify roles within the business and making sure there’s no confusion between those roles. For example, I’m very operational and do a lot of the product development, whereas James is more on the strategic side,”​ she said.

“We talk a lot about how we want the business to evolve, but each of us owns a separate area of the business and I think that separation of responsibility has helped us work quite well together.”

Whole Kids is also the first food company in Australia to be certified as a B corporation, which is an international certification recognising businesses that are doing more to create change in the world on the social-environmental side

“You often see a lot of brainwashing by bigger companies in terms of certifications and standards, but B corporation was set up to really acknowledge businesses that are doing the right thing, whether it’s in terms of sourcing, gender parity, governance and so on,”​ Meldrum said.

Listen to the podcast above to find out more.

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