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Elevator pitch: The Honest Food Company

Kick-ass energy Belinda Tuki’s dairy, grain and sugar-free bars provide protein for kick-ass busy women

Elevator pitch: The Honest Food Company Belinda Tuki makes the case for her startup that serves up a dose of healthy eating to busy mums

What’s this Honest Food thing all about? ?

I want to provide raw, functional, grain, dairy and sugar free food, and also foster a community for mums returning to the workforce.

How did it all start?

I was a personal trainer and wellness coach, helping people change their beliefs around food and body issues. I was asked to create a protein bar for my customers who were primarily dairy free, like myself, and wanted to reduce wheat consumption. After about six months of trial and error, I launched the Eggcel egg white powder, allowing dairy free or lactose intolerant Kiwis to add protein to smoothies and make protein-enriched meals.

So, food for frazzled mothers, then?

Actually it’s for kick-ass women. They’re crazy full-on with responsibilities, but it’s hard to eat well when you don’t or can’t eat dairy or gluten, especially when you don’t have the time to cook up fancy meals. Honest Food sorts out their breakfasts and snacks and basically lets them be superwoman.

So you’re talking from experience?

Some evenings I need to work, but it doesn’t take priority over my daughter. Still I reckon Layla will benefit from seeing her mum following her passions.

You crowdfunded more than $30,000 – what was that like?

I can honestly say it was the hardest thing I have had to do business-wise. Putting myself out there was soul baring and if I wasn’t so focused on the goal for The Honest Food Company it would have been very easy to give up. Self-promotion is not my strong suit; I kept saying to myself, “Think like an American”. If you want a crash course in personal development, crowdfund!

How much cash do you need now?

The crowdfunding money will be used to fit out my kitchen for production, but another $200k would be a blessing to cover operational expenses, cashflow and bringing in the right people to help achieve my goals. I’d be a lot more productive and would be able to focus on marketing to the channels I want my food to be in, such as cafes and wholefood stores. My skillset is wasted being in the kitchen. I want to share my vision with as many people as possible, getting orders in and offering paid internship opportunities to awesome single mamas out there. I want to target New Zealand initially, then Australia, Asia and the US. I have big plans.

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