Page 26 - Food & Drink Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
P. 26

The clever formulation of sugar-free cake and bakery mixes is forging a strong new niche.
DESPITE a focus on all the conventional guidelines of “healthy eating”, Rachel Bajada found herself insulin resistant at age 30. With a family history of diabetes, it sparked the marketing and communications specialist to begin her research journey into the effects of sugar on modern illnesses.
Horrified by the lack of foods made without chemical sweeteners, gluten, additives and sugars “in disguise”, Bajada set about creating alternatives that avoided all those ingredients.
“If I had something sweetened with artificial sweeteners I thought it had to be better than sugar. But it’s actually worse. There needs to be much more research and human trials done; the effects on my own health were catastrophic, but as soon as I stopped eating synthetic sweeteners, my insulin resistance went away in four weeks.
“My doctor was asking what I’d done! Had I stopped eating carbs? Changed exercise routines? Literally the only thing I changed was to stop
eating any synthetic sweeteners.”
In 2013, Bajada established Noshu, phonetically short for “no sugar”. Along with her marketing capabilities, the entrepreneur has a food science background. “And I love baking.” Right from the start, Bajada’s mantra has been to focus on these two areas.
product development, but now we have four support staff, including a product development assistant, someone in charge of customer service and marketing, a brand and
outsourced, so we have strategic partnerships with manufacturers and distributors.”
Bajada describes her outsourced model as common sense.“With nine SKUs comprising four doughnuts, three kinds
of muffins, two baking mixes plus two new lines launching in 2018, we have a tight product range that we plan to keep expanding in the right sequence.
“So rather than trying to own and run factories, which adds complexity, we focus our energy on new products that we get the specialists to manufacture, then we market them and build the brand.”
And with some very specialised (and award- winning) products, it’s a model that has worked extremely well, with the business doubling its turnover every 12-18 months since the start.
Training is still a big part of the business. “We do training in every area of the business. We have 52 staff, which is 28 full-time equivalents, and we train all our staff to a minimum of Cert III,” Van Gerwen says.
In 2002, Van Gerwen bought a property between Devonport and Latrobe on the busy Bass Highway and opened up to tourism.
In addition to chocolate on the menu, there is a tasting centre and a chocolate museum. “We call it a total chocolate experience and it’s been hugely successful.”
House of Anvers supplies into both retail and wholesale. ✷
House of Anvers
The world’s rarest chocolate is not the only secret to Tasmanian chocolatier House of Anvers.
AT age 12, Igor Van Gerwen was working in a patissiere on weekends in his native Belgium where he spent the next six years at a college learning patisserie, ice creams, sugar work and chocolate work.
“In Belgium it’s pretty hard: you’re up against fourth and fifth-generation chocolatiers. So I was working as a pastry chef mainly for the next few years, then ended up in Tasmania.”
In the Apple Isle, Van Gerwen began making
“ We focus our energy on new products that we get the specialists to manufacture, then we market them and build the brand.”
“Our core focus and core competencies as a business are product development and marketing.
“So we’re a brand first and foremost, and our number-one job and focus is to develop and formulate real, unique, innovative products the world needs. Second is to get them ranged, and distribution in place.
“When I began in 2013 it was just me. We run a lean business model and I still do a lot of the
sales director, and then logistics and supply chain.”
“We keep logistics and supply chain in house because it’s the only way we truly get 100 per cent control and the best possible prices that we can then pass onto our customers.
“We also have consultant food technologists to do any technical troubleshooting on those specialised things that we might not have the in-house skills for.
“Beyond that everything is
traditional the Belgian truffles with chocolate that he was used to from his homeland.
“I started supplying one shop, then two shops, and it just grew. I ended up supplying David Jones in Melbourne, and then started to become a bit more serious and full-time, and I just grew the business from there. It’s all organic growth; it was just for a market with product that people loved.”
However there was an issue.
“The more I was selling, the more loss I was making, so I got a mentor in to teach me about the business side of things. He was with the business for several years and set me on the right path, including looking at areas of training,” he says.
26 | Food&Drink business | November-December 2018 |

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