Over 10 years ago, Whole Kids founder Monica Meldrum worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs and led a team of Australians to Indonesia for a program to help children living in poverty. This trip was the catalyst for Monica and her husband to create a healthy snack range for kids.
“My experience there challenged my assumptions about the meaning of success, how I valued happiness and what I wanted from my career, and I vowed then to make a positive impact on children’s health,” Meldrum told Inside FMCG.
She learned the importance of product labels for parents when buying food for their kids. She said that it can be “very deceptive and difficult to navigate misleading food labelling, hidden ingredients and dubious health claims”. Meldrum and her husband saw imported brands who were doing well with business models that are purpose-based and aren’t solely profit-driven.
Inside FMCG: How did you partner with Woolworths on the new exclusive products?
MM: We had several meetings with Woolworths over a period of 12 months to discuss their requirements and we worked together to tailor products to our customers to provide a range that was superior to anything currently available on the market.
Inside FMCG: How did Whole Kids become a B Corporation?
MM: We’re proud to be a founding member of B Corporation and the first food business in Australia to be certified as a B Corp! We believe that all businesses should strive for a deeper purpose beyond their products, and through Whole Kids we are setting a new standard for how business can be used as a force for change in the world.
This extends to our entire supply chain, from the ethical sourcing of wholesome, organic, and non-GMO ingredients, to working with local communities, to how we engage with our customers and all other stakeholders across our entire business. We are committed to ethical sourcing, transparency and honesty in all aspects of our business.
Inside FMCG: Tell us about working with Foodbank Victoria and Plan International.
MM: Our business was founded with the sole purpose of creating happier, healthier lives for children and we became strong supporters of community programs that helped young children such as Foodbank Victoria’s “Big Breakfast” to assist the 108,700 Victorians that cannot afford to feed themselves, often going to school without breakfast to nourish them. As part of our partnership, we contributed 391 kilos of organic food, creating a total of 781 meals to children in need.
As well as helping children locally, following my initial my trip to Indonesia I was determined to go back to South-East Asia to contribute wherever I could. One of our key projects is the School Meals Project with Plan International which has created a life-changing community partnership, the impact of which will be felt for generations. A nutritious meal makes all the difference to the lives of children and in Cambodia alone, 40 per cent of children under five are chronically malnourished. As part of our purpose-driven business, we contribute a portion of our sales to kids’ health projects and for this particular project we were able to reach our goal of providing 500,000 meals to school children in Cambodia!
This year I journeyed to Cambodia with my daughter and five young Australian girls to experience the work we are doing in partnership with Plan with a view to motivating them to champion change for a better world within their own community.
Inside FMCG: Where do you source organic ingredients for your products?
MM: We source ingredients both locally, in New Zealand and across Europe.
Inside FMCG: What’s your best selling product?
MM: We have the largest range of products available for children, which has grown from our first range of organic and additive free fruit bars, to our latest range of products which incorporate probiotics, omegas and other health benefits to provide superior quality and nutrition not found elsewhere.
Inside FMCG: Any new products Aussies should look out for in 2020?
MM: We have big plans for 2020 which will see us expand on our already popular kids product lines to provide the healthiest, highest quality and best tasting alternatives available to Aussie children, while continuing to support efforts to promote a healthier, happier world for kids… watch this space!
Inside FMCG: Any plans to launch Whole Kids in other supermarkets?
MM: With the launch of Whole Kids into Woolworths, our products are now featured in two of Australia’s major supermarkets, Coles and Woolworths along with Chemist Warehouse. We will also be launching in to two major supermarket chains in Southeast Asia in early 2020, continuing our growth to position Whole Kids as the leading kids health brand both locally and internationally.