It's spreading like wildfire.
All throughout Melbourne you can see it. On every street corner, there are signs. Promotional placards urging you to get your fix.
It started with the cafes. Abandoning their past, they had to cater for a new surge in public interest. Identities overhauled to remain current. Redesign and rebrand, or be replaced.
This new fetish brought businesses to their knees. Cafes are not the end of its stretch. Oh no, this craze is far more contagious than that. The compulsive mania is sprouting new trades like flowers in spring. Melbournians can not get enough.
Of what exactly?
Healthy products that take your tastebuds out for a candlelit 5-star meal, and pay for the bill. They do it all. Vitality boosts, hangover remedies; all without the oozing grease of a fry-pan.
Scratch that, all without anything but natural, organic, raw, wholesome, healthy ingredients. Allergies and intolerances no longer sideline us from our desires. Instead, the new craze in superfoods embraces them.
These tasty treats are for everyone. Dairy free, gluten free, soy free, chemical free, sugar-free, vegan, paleo… You get the picture.
Acai, dragon fruit, quinoa; these words might sound like World of Warcraft epithets, but I assure you they are very real. If you’re living in Melbourne and haven’t heard of them, then maybe you need to delete that WoW account. Walk to your closest café, if you don’t see these foods on the menu, avoid investing, chances are the cafe won't be in your neighbourhood much longer.
Melbourne has become the hub of a superfood health trend. Goodbye big breakfast Sunday mornings, hello spinach and kale blend.
If you’re like me and have a strong affinity with the deep fryer, this wave of fruit and veggies brought a little scepticism. Can I add hash browns to this smoothie? No. Bacon on the side? Negative. Adieu, my good sir, I take my leave.
But then I opened my mind, and soon after, my mouth followed suit. Immediately you could see why these products are so popular. They tick all the boxes.
Vibrant colours √
Off the back of the mid-2000’s 2XU active wear craze comes the superfood. Melbourne was predisposed to this notion of a healthy lifestyle, and now the outfit comes with a beverage and snack.
At this point, opinions divide. Some will embrace superfood’s healthy vitality. Others will cringe at the thought of another Melbournian hipster fad while they intermittently suck at a sugared latte, chasing it down with a cigarette. I was the latter, but now I am less certain who are the hipsters caught up in fads.
Morgan Cottee, 23-year old founder of BlendCo, a health food company involved in the production and distribution of superfood products including organic desserts, smoothies, juices and mixes are a big reason.
BlendCo sprouted in the summer of 2013. Morgan and co-founders Charlie Maginness and Mat Bate realised their love for healthy living and music festivals was shared by many millennial youths. Why not hybridise the two and make a business out of it? That first year they purchased a van to blend smoothies in and travelled the country hydrating over 30 events with 50,000 plus blends.
Today, BlendCo’s van takes a back seat to a permanent store on Glenferrie road in Hawthorn and a thriving online customer base. BlendCo has a range of natural products that ship to all corners of the globe, from juices to superfood powders.
“We refuse to use anything but natural, raw, gluten free, dairy free and vegan products. Everything we produce is made in house, by hand, even though we produce thousands of products each week.” Morgan says.
Their juice cleanses promise a detox after the hedonism of summer; purifying mind and body. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
“Our philosophy has evolved over time, but at its core lies our mission to make health foods more accessible to everyone.” Morgan says.
Melbourne’s accessibility is unparalleled. Melbourne is more than just BlendCo’s home and base of operations. Morgan watched as the city’s café scene exploded. He thinks that the trend towards healthier eating is its logical extension.
“Melbourne is at the forefront, the other major cities all have to play catch up.” He says. “We’re the first to really embrace healthy eating as a lifestyle.”
People are gradually coming into the light, learning more about what goes into their body and the effects it has. Morgan is emphatic that this health trend is no fad.
Superfoods and healthy living are here to stay.
“I think as consumers become more aware of the foods they consume on a daily basis and the way those foods make them feel, more and more we’ll find people altering their diets and becoming healthier as a result.” Morgan says.
It's hard to find fault with that. The team behind BlendCo have developed something incredibly valuable; healthy living made tasty and desirable. Have you ever tried acai berries? Beyond deliciousness, those little gems are so packed with anti-oxidants they ought to be called Benjamin Buttons - they damn near reverse the aging process!
'Purple?' another Melbourne-based business that began in 2009, is devoted to importing acai berries from the Amazon to our doorsteps.
The amount of healthy lifestyle startups in Melbourne over the past few years is astounding. Beyond BlendCo & Purple? a list bounds full of successful companies, now a house hold names to some. Pressed Juices, Pana Chocolate, and even cosmetic skin care companies like Frank Body were all founded in Melbourne.
“It says a lot about our ‘first movers’ culture” Morgan says.
Maybe you can get around a smoothie or two, but you know those junk food cravings hit hard. You’re only human. No one is judging you. After all, you’re only cheating yourself.
Enter Pumpy Jackson. Pumpy Jackson labored through three years of rigorous testing trying to create a super chocolate. Georgie Holliday, a partner at Pumpy Jackson, boasts that they have created “quite easily the healthiest chocolate on the market, with less naturally occurring sugar than a carrot”.
Don’t take our word for it. Registered nutritionists have been part of the creation and back it up. Naturopath Jad Patricks is “impressed with its low sugar, low allergens, free of additives and high in fibre” making it the healthiest chocolate he’s seen.
“We have all these girlfriends who claim they eat so well, but they can’t give up chocolate.” Georgie says. “We wanted to make a super chocolate so healthy, that vegans and health orientated people could still indulge”.
Pumpy Jackson has entered seamlessly onto the Melbourne super food market, “there’s most definitely a culture that favors healthy eating here” Georgie says.
Their product caters to all allergies and intolerances. Healthy and chocolate are two words that rarely go hand in hand, but Pumpy Jackson is driven by health, without compromising its taste. Retailers through Melbourne have had their stocks depleted.
“Melbourne being such a foodie society is really interested in the new and latest products especially in the food realm. I think it's really interesting when companies do launch here, they seem to take off.” Georgie says.
Pumpy Jackson, BlendCo along with a host of others are all establishing themselves in the wave of superfoods that’s flooding Melbourne’s market currently.
Mintel, a global market research provider, highlighted that superfoods were the biggest consumer trend of 2015 within Australia.
There’s no use denying it, Melbourne is now the home of superfood. If you’re still not buying into the superfood craze, here’s some advice: buy into it.
Ironically, the only way to stop the superfoods may be to increase demand. The superfood craze creates pandemonium on the market. Chia seeds, quinoa, kale and almond prices have risen astronomically with increased demand, keep it up, and soon Melbourne won’t be able to afford it.
Lewis Fisher is the kind of guy that’s better friends with your mum than you. And this time, its personal. Between digressing into playful quodlibets and a yearning ambition to integrate cheese onto every meal, you’ll find him in a dressing gown and slippers multi-screening away. Among all this Lewis finds time to pen down his inner monologue and provide an integral source of editing others at Lucifer's Monocle.