Getting Serious on Cereal: The Kasha Back Story
When my dad started Fry’s in 1991, his idea was to craft nutritious and convenient alternatives to meat that my whole family (and friends) could all happily eat. Fast forward a good few 26 years later and now we are a fully-fledged second generation family business. And that means upping the ante a notch or two, all the while continuing to keep things plant-based, nutritious and tasty – just as my dad would have wanted!
My sister, Hayley, and I are both working mums and are avid crossfitters, so we find the time in the day just slips by, while we are left scrambling in the morning to drop the kids off at school on time, getting to meetings, and working out, let alone finding the time to make wholesome meals! We needed to make things easier, and it needed to start with our food. We asked ourselves, “What can we make that is easy and doesn’t compromise our health and our kids’ health?”
It needed to be a pre-workout shake, post-workout shake, breakfast on the run, desk eating-approved, important meeting-accepted, lunchbox-friendly and afternoon snack-OK’d. It needed protein and superfoods. It also had to be natural, low in sugar, low GI and 100% vegan. Basically, we wanted to make superhero food. Not easy task.
But we were determined to make our dream of crafting a nutritious and yummy triple-threat meal a reality.
And so Kasha was born.
First we had to decide on the flavours and develop the recipes. Figuring out which ingredients went well together without one or the other dominating, getting the texture perfect, and ensuring it was nutritionally balanced was certainly a learning process. We played around with superfoods like moringa and chia seeds, healing spices like cinnamon, and some of nature’s finest plant proteins, soy isolate, buckwheat and oats. As my sister and I, as well as our four young children, follow a plant-based diet it was important that the ingredients were healthy, comprehensive and light on the planet. After having countless breakfast-for-dinner nights, we got the two recipes – Chocolate and Vanilla & Chia – exactly how we wanted them to be.
Then we had to figure out a name. Oh dear. After going through the dictionary, we settled on “Kasha”. Kasha is a type of cereal or porridge made from buckwheat groats that have been roasted, soaked and simmered until soft, and because one of the main ingredients in the cereal is buckwheat, we decided on the simple and catchy name.
We then moved to the packaging: a critical component to the whole endeavor. How could we package Kasha in such a way that was different to the run-of-the-mill cereal brands? We wanted our packaging to obviously be fully reusable while conveying the health benefits simply and effectively. As we were moving into another category (from frozen foods to cereals), we also had to consider how to portray Fry’s so that we were still recognizable to our current customers and impactful to new customers.
We decided on a distinctive tub-shape for the box. But finding a supplier was a nightmare! The lid width was completely unique so had to be especially made but we were adamant on settling for what we wanted! The other design challenges were massive too. We brought together some of the best minds in the industry: one Australian (who was in Durban at the time on a surfing trip), myself (a Durbanite living in Australia), a marketing guru from Cape Town, and our own in-house designer, based in Durban. This was our small team of four who took on the challenge to design the cereal pack. We spent months of trial-and-error on designs that didn’t really work. Revert after revert, we finally nailed it. Kind of.
After months of hard work, we supplied the artwork to the printer. This started a whole new set of problems… They could not reproduce the colours correctly and the Chocolate variant colour looked identical to Vanilla & Chia. It was back to the drawing board!
And then everything was ready. Our desire to be different paid off and our protein-packed, gluten-free instant cereal, Kasha, was finally good to go! It was time to hit the shelves around the world as the perfect on-the-go meal option that could be used as a superfood breakfast cereal or added to smoothies. Made from only the best that nature has to offer and an ingredient list you can understand, Kasha is a product very close to my family’s heart and mine too.
I hope you enjoy Kasha as much as we do. Life is what happens between bowls of Kasha!
Love Tammy Fry