By Leon Gettler >>
WITH LOCKDOWNS and more people working from home, everyone is now cooking. Food has now become the way to discover the new normal post-COVID.
People will continue cooking and baking when things head back on board. It’s a perfect time for Jordyn Evans, the Melbourne-based founder of Mingle Seasoning.
In the last four months, during COVID-19, Mingle Seasoning’s sales have grown 350 percent.
Ms Evans invested her life’s savings to build a business creating ingredient transparency in the spice aisle, at a time when Australians are opting to get back in the kitchen to cook with confidence.
She started Mingle four years ago when she was the marketing manager for a drinks company. That company used natural ingredients without preservatives.
While working there, Ms Evans became more aware of the products manufacturers were putting into food and drinks and she became an avid label reader.
At that stage, Jordyn Evans was looking for the next step to set up her own business.
The idea for the business came to her one weekend when she was preparing her food for the week.
“I checked out the labels and realised there was a whole lot of sugar, preservatives, high amounts of salt and just ingredients that I didn’t feel confident consuming anymore,” Ms Evans told Talking Business.
“So I went down to the supermarket and I was looking for a healthier alternative and also looking for brand that spoke to that millennial consumer. I wanted a brand that was fun,” she said.
She compared Lipton Tea with T2 and felt that criteria had not been achieved in spices.
“There are certain heritage credible brands that have been around for 50-plus years but I really felt there was an opportunity to shake up a category that had been quite complacent,” Ms Evans said.
As a result, she began to test and validate the idea for a range of healthy spices that appeared to that health-conscious young consumer like herself. Wearing a mask, she started blending a spices to create a range for everyday cooking.
“I wanted to make cooking really simple and easy and fuss-free, which is what I always did on a Sunday afternoon,” Ms Evans said.
THE MILLENNIAL APPROACH
Ms Evans, a typical millennial, started her business with an Instagram account and an online store and just tested the market. She then quit her job to focus on the business as it grew.
The big breakthrough came when Mingle landed a $1 million contract to supply 850 Coles supermarkets, coming at a time when Coles was switching to local neighbourhood supermarket formats. She said that was a great way for any local supplier to develop.
“That day four years ago, when I was in the spice aisle looking for a healthier alternative, I had dreams and ambitions to always be in the supermarket,” Ms Evans said. She said Coles was supporting local brands and testing them in small format stores.
Going from one store to 850 taught her a lot about manufacturing and capital outlay.
“I learned everything to be able to scale and then, because the sales were going so well, it enabled the main spice buyer to have confidence that the product would also sell on a mass scale.”
The company has now moved to a third party manufacturer to get the product out at bigger scale.
Ms Evans said Mingle had come into the market at a time when people happened to be cooking more than ever and Mingle is the tool to enable that. Ms Evans wants to change the way people see cooking: not as a chore but as a way to connect with loved ones, something more important than ever before.
“At the end of the day, what gets me up in the morning is knowing people are creating,” Ms Evans said. “I think food is an amazing vehicle to inspire you to create and also connect. I want people gathering around that dinner table. Food is a facilitator for that.”
Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.