Sydney-based husband and wife team Trish and James are the entrepreneurs behind boutique cereal brand Mabel & Joy. Vegan-friendly and free from refined sugar, additives and artificial flavours, their range includes blended cereals and porridges. After just one year, their toasted muesli has won a silver medal at the 2017 Australian Food Awards (AFA).
We sat down with Trish to find out how a shared passion for natural foods inspired their business.
How did Mabel & Joy get started?
I have always had an interest in natural, wholesome foods… though James not so much. It was around two years ago when we decided to eliminate sugar from our diet that our interest intensified.
During our honeymoon we started talking about what became Mabel & Joy. We wanted to create granola that we could eat; that wasn't too sweet, too plain, or topped with 'filler fruits' like sultanas, and cranberries. Then, on the day I returned to work, I was made redundant. The business began about half an hour later.
We began selling at a small farmers market in Sydney, then built a website and started selling online. At first, our customers were our family and friends, then, this expanded to people from all states.
"Using a cereal blend as a smoothie base gives it texture, and adds healthy fats from the nuts and antioxidants and fibre from oats."
What have you learned since starting Mabel & Joy?
We have figured out so much. We definitely ran before we could walk, but I think that forced us into listening more to our customers, and our gut, to create the best products we could. Also having never run a business before, we learn something new every day when it comes to operations, packaging, design, exporting, wholesaling… it never stops!
What makes your cereal different?
We toast our granola with organic coconut oil and organic brown rice syrup. The reason why we do this is because unlike fructose-based sweeteners, glucose can be absorbed by almost every cell in the body. Fructose on the other hand, is almost always broken down by the liver.
Too much fructose, and it will become overworked, with the potential to cause fatty liver. Fructose is also twice as sweet as glucose, and we wanted to lessen the sweetness in our products.
What’s your favourite way to start the day?
Definitely with coffee. A flat white, followed by a run or a gym session. Then of course, a big bowl of our Bondi Blend, with Greek yoghurt, blueberries and cacao nibs.
What are some other healthy options for a light spring breakfast?
A great option for a light breakfast is a smoothie, where you can build ingredients based on your dietary needs. For instance, we add our PB&C Blend or Mabel's Mix Paleo Blend to some almond milk and some frozen fruit like blueberries or a banana. We then add some extras which could be spirulina, protein powder, cacao or maca.
Using a cereal blend as the base gives the smoothie texture, and adds healthy fats from the nuts, antioxidants and fibre from oats, iron and folate from chia and sunflower seeds, and Vitamin B and magnesium from pumpkin seeds.
Toasted muesli blend smoothie