Top 10 small food brands to watch

Nicola Riches
By Nicola Riches | 17 May 2016
Pangkarra Foods

There are 8000 food and drink brands operating in this country, and while we have looked at some of the bigger household names and what they’re doing, it’s often at the opposite end of the spectrum where smaller operators are trying to make big waves, that interesting ideas emerge.

At the end of 2015, AdNews’ sister publication Food & Drink Business ran a list citing the rising stars of Australian food brands – those small to medium-sized companies that are innovating in this category.

The top 10 (see below) is a snapshot of where the bigger brands are leaving gaps and what the future might look like in the food and drink market. There is an emphasis on healthy options, foods for people with intolerances, and, as you might expect, more plays on Australia’s obsession with coffee and indulgent desserts.

Pangkarra owner and head of marketing Katherine Maitland sheds light on what it takes to operate a new food business. Her company only launched in 2011, directly from the farm she and her husband own in South Australia where they grow durum wheat, the primary ingredient for pasta.

The Pangkarra range is currently only stocked in premium, gourmet shops and IGAs across Australia, while the company has also done a deal to have it distributed in South East Asia.

Maitland believes that having a strong point of difference (in this case, wholegrain wheat where nothing is removed in thestone-milling process) is the key to success. She explained that by having “a single origin, paddock-to-plate family emphasis” Pangkarra was able to pull together a strong marketing story.

This year, Pangkarra will solely rely on a digital marketing strategy on account of it being relatively inexpensive and providing Maitland with a way to communicate directly with her customer base. Given the company has just launched a range outside of wheat – pulses which come as ready-made snacks – Maitland was clear that retaining a set of marketing values was incredibly important.

“From a marketing point of view, when we decided to launch something entirely new, it was important to retain our values,” she said. “We emphasise what we stand for: healthy and gourmet and bring it all in as part of the same provenance story.”

Pangkarra has no plans to expand into the major supermarkets, preferring to keep the brand for the “20% of Australian consumers who don’t shop in Woolies and Coles”. “We want to keep our brand exclusive, but accessible to those people who shop elsewhere,” she added.

1. Pangkarra

Wholegrain wheat products, pasta, breads and pulses.

2. Roza's Gourmet sources

Premium, handmade sauces for those with food intolerances.

3. Nexba

Homemade-style iced tea.

4. Popina

Clusters and muesli makers.

5. Mayver's

Peanut butters and nut spreads.

6. Slim Secrets

Healthy, convenient snacks.

7. Cocofrio

Dairy-free ice cream.

8. Schibello Caffe
Italian-style coffee beans and makers.

9. Frosty Boy

Frozen desserts and beverages.

10. Sodastream

Fizzy drinks machines and flavourings.

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