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BEHIND THE BRAND

Behind The Brand: Melinda's Gluten Free Goodies

We’ve been fans of Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies since the beginning but for anyone who might not know, can you tell us a bit about how the Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies journey began?

Why, thank you!! I’ve been a coeliac for 26 years and in the early days loved to convert our family recipes into gluten-free deliciousness. While working at South Bank in Brisbane, 17 years ago, I became sick of the one and only choice in the cake cabinet so started my own gluten free café cake wholesale business, called Gluten Free Goodies. This grew rapidly over 4-years and then morphed into the cake mixes and bulk catering range you see today. I sold the café cake business to my mother-in-law when I found out was having our third child (making it three kids under four years old!!) and continued on with the cake mixes, which I could managed better with three little people under my feet.

Generally the cake mixes have followed my own food lifestyle choices. Starting as excellent-tasting cake mixes that just happen to be gluten free (and coeliac safe due to laboratory testing), adding the next level of fructose-free when I quit sugar and now the full low-carb, keto products.  Still always gluten free and coeliac safe - and of course jolly delicious!

Before launching Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies what did you do professionally. Do you have a background working in food?

I studied Sports Nutrition and worked at Canberra Hospital for a short time but ended up back at the University of Canberra in a Graduate Program and eventually as Campus Manager at the campus on South Bank (now it’s the Big Wheel!!). During that time we had many café meetings and hence my constant disappointment in only one sweet choice! Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies was born at this time and officially commenced once the university decided to close and my role was no longer.

Your range is committed to clean ingredients. Can you tell us why this is a key element of Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies?

As an avid home baker, and country gal, our main goal is for our customers to create a cake that looks and taste home-made (you wouldn’t know it came from a packet). For this to occur the baking mix needs to be clean and simple, like you’ve weighed out and mixed individual ingredients on your kitchen bench. With our mixes I always say that “Melinda has weighed and sifted your dry ingredients; you just need to add the butter, milk & eggs (or alternatives)”! The preservatives and chemicals added to mixes are there to provide a consistent look and longevity, sometimes so you can just add water, but we love that ours all come out differently with your own baking flare!

We love that Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies is never stagnant, always developing new allergen friendly, free-from and diet-friendly products. What was the catalyst for your new Keto Pudding Mixes?

As mentioned before my range follows my own personal eating preferences and these two new pudding mixes are the next addition to our low carb/keto products that we’ve been successfully selling for the past four years. I always like to create something unique that would make a positive impact to people who are not confident bakers or simply time poor. I also think that gluten free food in general needs to be cleaner so these ingredients sing true to that, too. When you choose to go low-carb or keto you really need to bake to fill in the gaps on products you typically like to consume OR pay big bucks for pre-made and sometimes very busy ingredients panels. In less than 20-minutes you can have 8 puddings ready to serve using ingredients that are typically already in your fridge.

Your Keto Pudding Mixes are delicious! What’s your favourite way to savour them? Any inside tips on how they’re best enjoyed?

I’m a chocolate fan through and through. I love them smothered in the sauce and served with both Denada Double Choc Sugar-Free ice-cream and Maleny Dairy’s double cream - divine…..

Over the years your range has evolved to include lower carb offerings and your new Keto Pudding Mixes. Can you tell us a bit about how and why your product range has evolved?

After three kids in four years and two businesses I was exhausted and spending the days surviving on minimal sleep, Coca Cola, and sweet treats. This combo landed me 30kg overweight. A loving friend of mine recommended [the book] Sweet Poison by David Gillespie and it changed my life. This is when I dropped sugar (fructose), and over 18-months, I lost those 30kgs (with minimal to no exercise). It became a lifestyle, not a diet. Over Christmas-time about eight years’ ago I read Grain Brain by David Perlmutter and then cut the carbs too! My kids now insist on approving my Christmas reading as our household foods change - and not in their personal favour!!!  These days I’m still at the same weight, I’ve added 16:8 intermittent fasting (skipping breakfast) and I’ve never been healthier. My gut loves it and overall I run at a very high capacity each day. I still enjoy a good quality café eggs benny, coffee and cake, and also the occasional gluten-free pizza and treaties on the weekend, but that doesn’t kick me off the wagon and I carry on day-to-day with my fasting and mostly low-carb lifestyle.

What exciting products can we expect to see from Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies in the future and how do you decide what products to add to the range? 

I’ll continue to follow my own food preferences, so I’d expect more down the low carb/keto line, something that is clean-ingredient, easy to make, and not already on the market!

It’s probably like picking a favourite child, but do you have a favourite product in the Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies range?

Outside of our delicious new Keto Choc Pudding Mix (which we can consume daily without any guilt whatsoever!!) our Choc Fudge Brownie Mix has been a favourite. Everyone says “it doesn’t taste gluten free”; it never fails me, even when I’m in a hurry and don’t cook it spot-on, it’s still scrumdiddly!!! 

And finally, do you have any advice for people starting out on their own gluten free journey?

After 26 years on the journey, with lots of turns in my path, I encourage you to read and understand the labels of all foods you choose to consume on a regular basis and to make choices for ‘future you’. ☺

Sarah Vercoe

Article by Sarah Vercoe

Sarah is a freelance writer and award-winning photographer with a special interest in health, travel, and fitness. Based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, she can be found hiking the trails of Noosa National Park, or, more likely, chasing after her one year old daughter, Illyana.

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