Wholesome, Healthy and Delicious

Real Foods

When it comes to healthy snacks, Real Foods Australia proves that natural, wholesome food doesn’t have to mean bland or boring.

Established in 1980 by current owner and Managing Director, Michael Pels, Real Foods is a wholly Australian owned and family operated company. Headquartered in Sydney, the company employs around 100 people in its manufacturing facility.

Real Foods is known for pioneering the development and introduction of rice cakes into the Australian market in the 1980s. Since then, the company has actively developed and improved the technology used in rice cake production, and has manufactured product from its own in-house rice cake machines since 1985. Real Foods is strongly focused on innovation and technical development, having developed the technology in-house that is used to produce the Corn Thins range. This technology was subject to patents in the US.

Marketing Manager for Real Foods Pty Ltd, Madeleine Anderson, shared with Business in Focus the reasons that Real Foods has been so successful with its products. “Our founder is very focused on health,” Ms Anderson explains. “He had a health food store that sold products from around the world. He went overseas and saw popping machines and bought that machinery to Australia to manufacture rice cakes.”

One of Real Foods’ most well-known products is the Corn Thins crispbread, first launched in Australia in 1996; this was the first product under the Real Foods brand name. It was also the first corncake product to be introduced in the Australian market. It is a natural, low-fat crispbread made from popped corn. Since the development of Corn Thins, Real Foods has experienced rapid growth and continuous development.

“Corn cakes have superior taste properties versus thick or thin rice cakes,” says Ms Anderson. “They have few calories per slice, while having a better mouth feel, much better taste, and have better nutrition characteristics than rice cakes.”

With the development of this product, Real Foods was able to produce a snack food with the taste of popped corn but a nutritional value that is superior to that of rice cakes, which are already considered to be a healthy food. This enabled the company to produce a product that would satisfy the large percentage of consumers who want to eat healthily without having to sacrifice taste. Corn Thins’ uniqueness made them an instant hit upon entry into the market, and were soon competitive with products in the snack food category made by larger Australian and multinational companies. Today, Real Foods’ Corn Thins product is one of the highest selling crispbreads on the Australian market, and its popularity in increasing year by year.

Almost two decades later, Real Foods has managed to maintain market leadership in the corn cake sector due to the introduction and variety of additional flavours. “Our competitors have tried to copy the idea, but no one in Australia has been able to match the quality and texture of Corn Thins,” shares Ms Anderson. Besides the Original flavour, Corn Thins come in a variety of flavours including Soy, Linseed & Chia, Multigrain, Sesame, Honey Soy Flavoured, Tasty Cheese Flavoured, and Sour Cream & Chives. The snack is noted for being made with all natural ingredients, free from artificial colours and preservatives, gluten-free, GMO free, and containing more than 7 per cent dietary fibre (higher fibre in the unflavoured variants).

On the success of this delicious and nutritious product, Real Foods first expanded into the New Zealand market in 1999. Since then, Real Foods has successfully branched into South Africa, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.

Real Foods’ philosophy focuses on providing people with new and exciting food that is wholesome, natural, and pleasurable to eat. Only natural ingredients are used to create the company’s products, which are also entirely free of genetically modified ingredients. Real Foods’ supply partners must certify that their ingredients are entirely GMO free and the company regularly tests their corn and soy to ensure they are within compliance. Refined sugars are not used in the manufacturing of the Corn and Rice Thins, and Real Foods always offers at least one product made from organically grown and certified ingredients.

To make its crispbreads, Real Foods sources the best grown ingredients to manufacture Corn Thins, using Australian grown ingredients whenever possible. A measured amount of pre-mixed grain is dropped into a mould, which is then heated; the grain pops due to the high temperature of the mould. The popping grain cannot escape and it fuses together in the circular shape of the mould in which it is contained. This is how the corn and rice cakes are formed in the grain-popping machines.

Of course, these products are manufactured in accordance with HACCP Food Quality system requirements, to ensure the safe consumption of products by consumers.

Real Foods has continued to grow due to the public’s increasing awareness about eating healthy and the desire for more nutritious alternatives to the usual snack foods. “People desire to eat healthy and live better lives,” says Ms Anderson. “Corn Thins are a tasty food for people to eat, they’re affordable and even good for the whole family because parents can feed their kids these snacks without the guilt of eating snacks that are higher in fats and sugars.”

Recognising an opportunity in the market, Real Foods has recently been expanding its product line and has relaunched its product development efforts. “Our next goal is to introduce different grain products and expand our unflavoured and flavoured segments with them,” shares Ms Anderson. The company also aims to continually improve productivity, lower the cost of production and improve its engineering processes to make the very best products.

In terms of marketing, Real Foods has a number of efforts underway to reach customers and shares its philosophy of providing good-tasting, healthy food to the market. “A lot of people expect healthy foods such as rice cakes or corn cakes to be bland and tasteless,” Ms Anderson explains. “People who try our products are generally surprised about the tastes of our Corn Thins and that they can actually eat a healthy product that tastes good.” Real Foods reaches potential customers by sampling Corn Thins at sporting events, schools, and relevant Expo events, and through its comprehensive website, cornthins.com.

Ultimately, Real Foods is a company devoted to producing good tasting, quality food products that contribute to the health and well being of people around the world. For over thirty years, the company has been able to do just that by providing wholesome and natural products for people who enjoy the taste of food without GMOs, or artificial ingredients.

“At Real Foods, we strive to create food that tastes really good and create products that are a good alternative to breads, crispbreads and unhealthy savoury snacks,” says Ms Anderson. “We aim to make eating healthy much easier for the consumer.”

For more information about Real Foods, please visit http://cornthins.com.au/.

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