Interview with Glovely Gelato

What made you want to start a business in the food industry (what problem are you solving or niche are you filling)?

I loved the fizzy yoghurt taste of kefir and wanted to find a way to make it appealing and knew that while many of us have healthy diets, when it comes to snacks and treats, we are a little lost.

Are you a solo business owner, family run business or partnership?

I am the founder of Glovely Foods. I was lucky enough to have some angel investors who believed in my food dream come on board to provide the seed capital to get started. I do most tasks but my university-going children help me with production, tastings and farmers market. My husband and younger daughter help out too so it is very much a family business.

Maria Glover - Glovely Gelato

Maria Glover - Glovely Gelato

What kind of food do you make?

I’m originally from Ireland and I came across an ice cream using kefir as its base product from back home. I started experimenting with different gelato recipes and the result is Glovely: a full-flavoured gelato that just happens to be good for your gut.

Kefir is a grain and when combined with milk it ferments. The result is a creamy, high probiotic product that tastes like fizzy yoghurt. To make Glovely, I pair kefir with rice malt syrup, a natural sugar source made from organic brown rice, real fruits and cacao and the delicious result is a lush, full-flavoured creamy gelato.

Who is your target market?

Anyone looking for a healthier treat.  With our recommended daily serving size of 2 heaped tablespoons containing less sugar than an apple along with the amazing health benefits of multiple strains of good bacteria, we like to think our lush, full-flavoured Glovely Gelato is as healthy as gelato can be.

Working with The Business of Food

I first met Jane Del Rosso and the Business of Food Team in March 2018 at the Business of Food Expo.  It was a fantastic event and inspired me to get going with my idea for a food product. I was very impressed with the variety of stallholders, presentations and panel discussions and with Jane and her team’s ‘can do’ attitude, so I decided to book in for some mentoring sessions with her.

I do not have a background in the food industry but Jane has guided me through the process of setting up a food business.  Jane has advised me on how to identify my target market, where to get ingredients, how to approach retailers and distributors, on how to price my product and so on.

The kitchen facilities that Jane has available for food start up businesses like myself at the Food Incubator in Monash University, have made it possible for me to get started with my business.  The licencing required for my dairy business is quite arduous but the Business of Food Team helped and accommodated me throughout this process. 

Where can we buy your product?

My product has really taken off and I have lots of retail outlets across Melbourne in Brighton, Ivanhoe, Ascot Vale, Cheltenham, Parkdale and Middle Park for starters.  A full stockist list is on my website at https://www.glovely.com.au/stockists-1. And from October to March, I’m at the Mulgrave, Spotswood and Kingston Farmers Markets which gives me a great chance to meet customers and trial new flavours.

What tip(s) would you give to someone thinking up launching a food business?

The main thing to understand is that the whole process is overwhelming! Know that if it was easy, everyone would be following their food dream. You won’t have all the skills (probably not even half!) so you need to find the right people who know more than you. This is where Jane and the Business of Food Team helped me: I was able to ask Jane, Kylie & Luis the ‘dumb’ questions that I felt people already in the food industry would expect me to know the answers to. They even answered questions that I didn’t know I had.

 Also, as a start up you have a limited budget so decide early what are the most important items to spend money on, for example I decided that it was really worthwhile having my NIP panels prepared by an expert, particularly because my product is unusual as it contains bacteria. And I also wanted to make sure that I didn’t spend money on packaging and labelling that would be redundant if the NIP panels were not 100% correct.

Kylie Suich