Bringing foods with health benefits to the world
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SalDoce Fine Foods co-director Cristina Talacko moved to Australia from
Brazil in 1997. While she loved her new home, she missed the foods and
ingredients of her native country. In 1999, she decided to quit her
legal career and start manufacturing a Brazilian delicacy called pao de
queijo. Made with tapioca and cheese, the gluten-free bread – launched
as Frevos – was a huge success among coeliacs, children and caterers.
Fast-forward to the present day, and SalDoce Fine Foods has become a
leading manufacturer of allergen-sensitive and gluten-free foods.
Since 2000, the company has introduced products that suit the diet of
customers with gluten, dairy and nut intolerance, diabetes, and those
wishing to control their weight or have a healthier diet without
The family-owned business (Cristina’s husband Martin is a co-director)
supplies more than 30 products under the YesYouCan brand – including
gluten-free baking and pancake mixes, vegan-free baking mixes, vegan
burgers, vegan protein shake mixes and Frevos – to supermarkets and
retailers in Australia and overseas.
Exports a key pillar in business strategy
SalDoce Fine Foods realised early on that exports would be a key driver of
‘Compared to the domestic market, our products receive quicker acceptance
from overseas retailers and higher potential demand from their customers,’
says Martin Talacko, Managing Director at SalDoce Fine Foods. ‘For this
reason, exporting is a key focus of our business strategy.
‘We entered the export market after participating in local and
international shows. In 2008, we met a Singaporean retailer who became our
first export customer. We then started expanding to all the Asian markets,
focusing on upscale supermarkets where a healthy diet was important to
Martin cites Austrade’s support as one of the key factors in SalDoce Fine
Foods’ rapid expansion overseas. ‘Austrade introduced us to new networks
and industry counterparts, and provided advice on export regulations,’ he
‘Austrade also organised for our products to be showcased in promotions
across gourmet retail stores.’
SalDoce Fine Foods currently exports its gluten-free products to more than
20 countries, including Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, the UK and the United
Arab Emirates and other Middle Eastern countries.
In 2019, SalDoce Fine Foods won the ‘Excellence in Small Business’ award
and was a finalist in the ‘Excellence in Export’ category at the NSW
Business Chamber Awards. The company was an Australian Exports Awards
finalist in 2016 and 2018.
Consider distribution channels
India is a key market for SalDoce Fine Foods.
‘India has strong appeal for us as the market matches many of the product
areas in which we want to grow – vegan and allergen sensitivities, reduced
sugar and improved nutrition for pre-diabetics,’ says Martin. ‘India has
had high growth in these segments. We were also attracted by the growing
middle class and increase in upscale supermarkets and health shops.’
Gulfood is an annual industry event held in Dubai. Austrade showcases leading Australian businesses at the event where they benefit from the collective power of ‘brand Australia’. SalDoce Fine Foods participated in this coordinated activity in 2016, where it was introduced to Chip Valley, its current Indian distributor. Today, the company’s retail customers include the premium Foodhall and Nature’s Basket chains, which are particularly strong in Mumbai and New Delhi, as well as other independent and gourmet stores.
‘Austrade organised for our products to be showcased in promotions across gourmet retail stores,’ says Martin, singling out the Taste of Australia event led by Austrade in India as a highlight. At this event, SalDoce Fine Foods was introduced to Amazon India and bigbasket.com, two influential e-commerce operators in the market that now offer the company’s YesYouCan range.
Exporting products to India hasn’t always been easy for the company, with
Cristina Talacko, Director at SalDoce Fine Foods, admitting the journey has
been full of learning curves.
‘One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced during the export process is the
amount of paperwork required in India and implementing changes to our
packaging,’ she says.
With 500 million vegetarians in the country, India is a consumer market with particular requirements. Products with any non-vegetarian ingredients must have specific labelling as regulated by the Food Safety Standards Association of India.
‘One needs to understand the ins and outs and have the right paperwork in
place, then the process is fairly easy,’ says Christina.
In addition, she says choosing the right distribution channels to
launch your products is critical in India.
‘On Austrade’s and our distributor’s advice, we launched our products
through gourmet food retailers and slowly branched into large e-commerce
platforms,’ says Cristina.
Listen to your customers
Cristina says consumer interest in vegan and gluten-free products in India
has accelerated over the past few years. This has driven SalDoce Fine Foods
to develop a comprehensive range of vegetarian and vegan gluten-free
products for Indian consumers.
‘Our newest range in India is our dairy- and egg-free baking products,
including a vegan egg replacer that is flying off the shelves,’ says
‘Meeting with potential customers also allows us to see them interact with
our products and the qualities they require. This allows us to be more
focused and export the lines that will succeed.’
EMDG enables promotion
SalDoce Fine Foods received an Export Market Development Grant (EMDG),
which assisted the company to undertake local consumer shows, develop
promotional literature for online and physical retailers, and support its
Indian distributor Chip Valley.
As consumer behaviour shifts to a more active and health-conscious
lifestyle, SalDoce Fine Foods continues to bring to global markets
healthier, vegan-friendly and delicious alternatives.
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