After building up a reputation for manufacturing sugar-free icy poles and beverages, Australian startup The No Nasties Project is grabbing a bowl and a spoon as its new cereal range launches in Woolworths stores.
The products are placed alongside mainstream cereal brands and feature fan-favourite Disney characters on the boxes, giving parents a healthier option for their eagle-eyed kids - a strategy founder David Andrew calls "health by stealth".
So will Andrew's Australian-made range disrupt the cereal market in the same way he carbonated the soft drink space?
What began as a way to recreate an Aussie summer staple without oodles of sugar has since become a fully-fledged food and beverage company as The No Nasties Project expands its range.
Last month No Nasties expanded its portfolio of products that previously only included sugar-free icy poles and beverages, the latter trading under the brand name of 'Naked Life'.
David Andrew's latest creations are breakfast cereals with 50 per cent less sugar than their mainstream counterparts.
While not exactly the first of its kind, No Nasties is hoping brand recognition and a licencing deal with Disney will help the products fly off the shelves of Woolworths - the startup's major retail partner.
Placed in the mainstream cereal aisle alongside giants of the sector like Kellogg's, No Nasties is offering parents a guilt-free shopping trip, hoping eye-catching box designs for their Fruity Loops, Choc Bombs and Rice Pops cereals will attract demanding children.
The move sees Andrew, who runs his business from Melbourne, take on a cereal market worth $754 million per annum.
The brand has already removed over 180 tonnes of sugar from Australian diets in in FY21 thus far, which is almost as much as a 747 Jumbo Jet or two killer whales, and is on-target to donate $50,000 to nutrition-education charities for Australian youth once a goal of saving 500 tonnes is hit.
By offering lower sugar alternatives to classic favourites that deliver on taste, are affordable and are available on the mainstream shelf, The No Nasties Project is shaking up supermarkets across the country according to Andrew.
"There was an evident gap in the space. Aussies want healthier options for their children, and we are providing it," says Andrew.
No Nasties has teamed up with a local manufacturer to make the product - a collaboration Andrew says works perfectly.
"We partnered really well with them and brought our experience of making things sugar-free that taste great into the large manufacturing process," says Andrew.
"That's been a real win for us, because that shows there are so many really good Australian manufacturers looking to innovate and do great things.
"We've always been on the front end of trying to make great tasting sugar-free products. Now we're getting better at partnering with big players to do it as well."
"Health by stealth"
Making a great tasting cereal is one thing. Getting customers to buy it is another.
Of all the customers in the world, The No Nasties Project's target demographic of children is one of the most difficult. Kids know what they like - and that's often because they find the look of the box attractive.
By partnering with Disney, first on the icy poles and now for the cereals, Andrew says the company has perfected its "health by stealth" approach in getting Australians to cut sugar out of their diets.
"87 per cent of parents are actively trying to reduce their kids' sugar intake, but the amount that actually do is far lower than that," says Andrew.
"People shop by instinct, and people shop by habit. So you have to really hit them in exactly the right way for you to get them to make the change.
"Even if they really want to reduce sugar, they're just so time poor, so a big part of what we're trying to do is create an easier choice for busy families to be able to make that change."
That play paid off when No Nasties chucked Frozen and Marvel branding on their icy poles. Now Spiderman, Ironman, The Hulk, and Elsa from Frozen adorn the front face of the cereal boxes.
"It's been great partnering with Disney," says Andrew.
"They're so well known in the market. For us it helps create some awareness in the mainstream because pester power is amazing.
"We've had so much feedback from customers saying they bought it because it was Disney and then realised later how healthy it was."
That Disney partnership is going to continue according to Andrew as the company prepares to launch even more products in the food space - though the founder is keeping details of those new products under wraps.
This will add to his sugar-free drinks brand Naked Life Sparkling which is also taking off, with his soft drinks now stocked across more than 1,000 stores in Australia, and the new iced tea and non-alcoholic spritzer ranges in more than 500 stores.Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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