Page 16 - Food & Drink Business Magazine March 2019
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to those with special dietary needs. Jenny said, “There are more of us with specific dietary needs these days. These products cover a lot of bases: our cheese is very low in saturated fat, being three per cent fat compared with a normal cheese at 23 or 25 per cent saturated fat. It’s lactose free and gluten free.
Another major market is the 18- to 40-year-old health conscious cohort, while the ready-to-eat cheese-and- cracker combinations have also been a hit.
Kevin said, “The distributors were hammering us nearly every second day about those. They were meant to be ready 12 months earlier, but this was just a case of getting across hurdles. We had some special packaging made, but they made it out of the wrong material. We had a machine made for that, but the whole thing didn’t work, so it pretty much put a 12 months’ hold on things because we had to buy a new machine, new packaging, new everything. But you’ve got to be in it to win it, haven’t you? So we just kept going.”
All manufacturing is done in-house and Dairy-Free Down Under handles as much as it can of other areas in-house as well.
For instance, their son did all the artwork on the revamped packaging they took to the highly successful 2018 Naturally Good trade show.
Kevin said, “He doesn't have any background in that, but everyone on our team is so passionate about wanting this to succeed. They can see where we’ve come from, and they can see the wheels turning, and they know they’re a big part of it. We’vegotalittlebellhere,every
LEFT: Dairy Free Down Under founders Jenny and Kevin Flanagan.
BELOW: The challenge of producing dairy-free vegan products brought innovations.
time we get a new customer, the bell is rung!”
Staff now number 35, and processing is beginning to become more automated.
“A lot was hand done, but that’s changed as more orders come in,” Kevin says.
What hasn’t changed, though, is the focus on quality.
Besides being Australian made and sourced, the most important factors for Dairy-Free Down Under are whole-food ingredients that are GMO-free.
“We try to keep the product as clean as possible, without having nasty E numbers in it,” Jenny says.
“We have one of the cleanest labels in the world.”
Many vegan dairy products tend to use oil bases, such as coconut, but the Flanagans prefer using plant-based milks.
Reaching their current range was the result of hours and hours of R&D. But that doesn’t stop the Flanagans continually trying to improve. “And we always listen to feedback.It’simportant.”
“I’d just like to thank all the independents across Australia, who got behind our brand and have really taken us on board, and then the Mexican restaurants who took us on too.
“We haven’t done much with marketing; where we are now is just showing the need for this sort of Australian product that’s filling a niche. I think also, even thoughthevegancommunityis
only a small part of our market, they are the ones driving it, and it’s awesome that they’ve done this because they love that it’s actually Australian.”
The Flanagans’ goal is for Dairy-Free Down Under to become a household name in Australia: “It has been great. And it’s only going to get more exciting, we think, because there are so many products that we cancreate.” ✷
16 | Food&Drink business | March 2019 |

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