HANNAH Leung never intended to go so nuts for crackers. Until she tried a 30-day Paleo-inspired diet two years ago and realised there were slim pickings in the crackers department in her home town of Forster.
"Doing [the diet] I wasn't allowed grains, dairy and gluten - I just wanted to make myself feel good, it was cutting out food to see how I felt and to lose a few kilos I suppose," says the 22-year-old. "I couldn't have normal crackers or rice and things, and towards the end of it I was sick and tired of veggie sticks and boring foods and snacks and I just felt like crackers and I was like 'Why can't I find some that are paleo?'"
Ms Leung, a health and fitness enthusiast who has a Bachelor of Human Sciences and is an aspiring physiotherapist, decided to take matters into her own hands.
She clicked on YouTube, followed a few videos and started experimenting in her own kitchen to make some paleo crackers.
"They actually turned out really well and I got all my family to try them and they agreed," she says.
Ms Leung did a bit of research on the availability of paleo crackers in Forster, where she admits the range may have been smaller than Sydney and remained disappointed.
"I found a few options but they didn't hit the spot, they weren't your regular crackers, they were full of nuts and seeds and weren't as satisfying, there wasn't the crunch of a regular cracker."
"It is a dream of mine to make it big..."
Ms Leung sought the advice of her brother, a food stylist, before setting up her business, ultimately developing three brands of paleo crackers - sea salt, chilli and rosemary.
Clean As Crackers are gluten and dairy free, vegan and made without additives and "nasties".
"They tick a lot of boxes and the crunch is a massive thing because I found a lot of competitors didn't have that. It is crucial to have a cracker that satisfies in taste but they have to have that crunch."
Ms Leung has been selling them at markets and has received mentoring from The Business Centre in Newcastle to develop her business.
She is negotiating a deal with a New Zealand manufacturer as she couldn't keep up the routine of hiring kitchens to bake her product while juggling her day job and studies.
"It is a dream of mine to make it big...I will be talking with [supermarkets] About Life, IGA, Go Vita … I hope to be in store in the next couple of months or so," she says.
Ms Leung says the hardest part of starting her business was the constant learning curve. Being pro-active has been key: "You can't wait for someone to return calls, you have to call again you have to be persistent," she says.
Article Source: Newcastle Herald
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