Hypoallergenic spreads company Buddee lands supermarket deals

Rodney Chieng and Seong-Lee Ang. Source: Supplied

Amid Melbourne’s series of lockdowns, the classic Aussie school lunchbox has been revived. And now the two fathers behind the project have just struck deals with Woolworths and Coles worth $1 million – before they’ve even sold any of their products.

Buddee is Seong-Lee Ang and Rodney Chieng’s response to the no-nut policy in Australian schools. With both of Ang’s children suffering from severe anaphylactic food allergies, the light bulb moment came after realizing that food allergies can be “quite difficult at times”.

“When they were younger, it was much easier to manage. But going to school just became more of a concern. [Buddee] I started by trying to create something for my kids to eat safely at school,” Ang said.

After realizing that the shelves of all the major supermarkets lacked a nut-free and hypoallergenic spread alternative aside from Vegemite and jam, Ang and Chieng joined forces during the pandemic where they “had quite a bit of time to relax.” amuse”.

Experimenting for two years with around 60 interpretations of the spread, the couple say their children have tasted every version.

“In the 30 or 40 version, they pretty much liked it – because who’s going to refuse chocolate, right?” Dogg said.

Buddee is Seong-Lee Ang and Rodney Chieng’s response to the no-nut policy in Australian schools. SOURCE: provided.

Throughout the process, the pair focused on three main pillars that the perfect product had to have: it had to taste good, it had to be hypoallergenic, and it had to be healthier than most snacks already on the shelves.

“You know, we’re both dads, Rodney has three kids, I have two. And we care about what goes in our kids’ mouths. A lot of spreads are really unhealthy, full of sugar and full of fat.

“We’re so proud of the health stars we have – we have five stars for the smooth and crunchy spreads, and four and a half stars for the chocolate one,” Ang said.

With roasted chickpeas as the central flavor, the co-founders believed everyone was already used to the humble legume, making it easier for peanut butter diehards to venture into the nut-free world.

“Everyone is so used to chickpeas – there are a lot of other chickpea products on the shelf,” Ang said.

And now Buddee will join the likes of hummus and chickpea crisps on the shelves of Australia’s supermarket giants.

“In fact, we hadn’t sold a single jar — the jars ordered by Woolies were the first we had sold!

“We’ve always dreamed of our product being on the shelf after release — I mean, every food brand would like that. Some try for years and never get along. We thought we would try in a few years, but then we thought away from the market right now,” Ang said.

So the pair jumped in and were quickly blown away when both supermarkets – in the same week – wanted them on the shelves.

“They absolutely loved it. And then it all worked out – and the next thing we knew, we were mass-producing jars. It’s been a wild ride,” Ang says.

But despite the allergy-friendly spread of the modest school lunchbox, the co-founders have also found fans among adults.

“We were trying to change the landscape of [spreads] sure to eat in schools, but we’ve found adults really like it too. They eat it out of a jar! said Rodney.

So what’s next for this budding brand? While Seong-Lee and Rodney can’t say too much, they plan to expand the Buddee brand into a whole line of products.

“Buddee spreads are just the beginning. We will have a range of future products and they will be in the same vein: healthy and delicious!

We want to become a brand that people can trust and rely on. That’s part of why we called him Buddee – we’re a friend you can rely on,” Seong-Lee said.

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