Inspired to create cereal she would love because she couldn’t find one on the market, Sarah Hedger came up with the idea of YUM. Moved by food that’s good for the body and for people who have sensitivities or allergies to wheat and gluten, she created a solution to fuel the body and brain without the tummy pains caused by grains. Together with Mike Cowlin, the dynamic duo produce a range of hand-made granolas – made by ‘nice people in Nelson, New Zealand’.
What is your company background, how did you start the business? Who are the owners?
“The story of award-winning Yum Granola begins with a chef, a recipe, and a beautiful spot in the Southern Alps. The chef was Sarah Hedger, who along with her favourite taste tester-turned YUM collaborator, Michael Cowlin, came up with a recipe that not only tasted out of this world but digested well and sustained her long days as a chef in Wanaka. Thus, she came up with YUM, which combined her knowledge of seeking out the highest quality ingredients while incorporating New Zealand ingredients she had grown to love. This, combined with her nutrition education of how to utilise nutrient-dense ingredients, resulted in a beautiful, artisan granola we know as YUM today. A solution that not only makes people excited for breakfast but leaves them feeling good for their day ahead.
“YUM incorporates the most organic and New Zealand ingredients while tasting of a beautiful, artisan product, all while being gluten free, grain free and Paleo, low sugar, high fibre, and nutrient dense. Thus, deliciousness and nutritious combined for a winning combination.”
What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“The YUM family currently includes four flavours, with an exciting new fifth flavour that will be available very soon. YUM is unique in that we come up with our own recipes in-house, thus the flavours are close to our hearts and ones that not only make us proud but get thoroughly taste tested before going to market.
“The existing four flavours include the Original Granola, which is toasted with NZ hazelnuts and Nelson honey, the Dark Chocolate Granola, which is a beautiful combo of cacao, hazelnuts, and goji berries, which recently won Silver in the NZ Outstanding Food Producers Awards. Next is The Bircher, which is an untoasted muesli with organic blackcurrants and cinnamon. The fourth flavour is our warming Creamy Apple Chai Porridge, one of the first gluten-free, oat-free porridges offered on the market, that is made with our own chai spice blend and toasted hazelnuts.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“YUM has continued to grow strength to strength and recently moved into a new location, YUM HQ, in a refurbished industrial space in downtown Nelson. YUM is also a new range hosted brand with Foodstuffs South Island. The YUM Dark Chocolate flavour recently won a Silver award in the NZ Outstanding Food Producers Awards. The YUM team are all paid living wage and recently YUM has made the decision to include a refugee from Columbia to join the team as there are many great refugees who never get the opportunities of locals.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“YUM is working on plans to continue to incorporate sustainable solutions to minimise its footprint. With the feedback from stockists and YUM fans, we continue to come up with our own recipes that not only taste amazing but make people feel great.”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
“YUM is available across the country in the main cereal aisle, as well as the organic section or gluten-free section, in select New Worlds, Pak N Saves, Four Squares, Moore Wilsons, Farro Fresh Stores, Commonsense Organics, Huckleberry stores, as well as select, independent stores and cafes around the country.”