Eat For You: good food for everybody
Reproductive physiologist Dr Hayley Dickinson believes access to nutritious food is a fundamental human right. To help put good food into the hands of more Australians, she has created Eat For You, a health food company that’s putting its morals where its mouth is, producing satisfying, nutritious organic whole food products that help to foster generational health and wellbeing while also giving back to the community.
Dickinson had dedicated her career to women’s and children’s health research. But as the years progressed, this highly educated, successful woman with a bushel of degrees to her name became disillusioned with the world of academia.
“I crashed and burned in academia,” she says. “I’d been there for a long time. And on paper, you’d describe me as at the top of my game. But I was dying inside.”
It took an experience at one of the large pharmaceutical companies Dickinson worked for to make her realise that she needed to move on.
“I asked a question around their research and development for one of their products,” she says. “This product ends up in the home of just about every pregnant woman in the country. The head of gynaecological research at this company laughed at me and said, ‘We don’t need to do any R&D on that product. Why would we? We’ve captured the market’.
“It’s still a goosebump moment for me. I found myself thinking, what’s the point of this research career if the end game, this product, is no longer being developed? Because there’s no incentive for them to do that. That broke me.”
Chewing the facts
Dickinson says the idea for Eat For You came during one of those “rocking in the wardrobe” moments. She had never planned to start a food company. But suddenly it all became clear.
“I was thinking about women and their health,” she says. “Women just need to eat good food. It’s a no brainer. It’s not like a revolutionary statement or anything.”
Eat For You produces whole food snack bars and bites that taste amazing, are minimally processed and are handled in a way that’s as close to nature as possible. First launched in 2019 as a project to support women through pregnancy, Eat for You has transformed into a company that offers health and wellbeing for everyone
A key difference between Eat For You snack bars and others on the market is that Eat For You only uses whole food. There’s no artificial powders, fillers or parts and pieces of food.
“People have been let down by snack bars for a long time,” Dickinson says. “There’s so much focus on just protein or collagen or sugar. I think we miss out on so much of a food when we only focus on just one aspect of it.
“One of our key differences is that you have to chew when you eat our bars. That’s because they’re made from dried fruit, nuts and seeds. We don’t pulverise them to a point where you don’t have to chew anymore. We also don’t use rice malt syrup, which allows manufacturers to produce a very sweet bar with a very low sugar content.
“That’s what people look for. Unfortunately, rice malt syrup is very high GI. So you’re not getting a lot of sugar, but it’s causing a very sharp increase in your blood glucose levels.”
Small company, big give
It’s eye-opening facts like this that Eat For You works to educate people about. Rather than pulling out the sweet part of something to make the other ingredients sweet, Eat For You uses whole ingredients that are naturally sweet. That way, you also get all the other nutritional benefits that those ingredients can provide. And in order to ensure that you can feel confident in the bar you’re eating, the company tests every single batch of bars to ensure the nutritional information panel is as accurate as possible.
“It seems so unfair, that so many brands are comfortable hoodwinking the punters,” Dickinson says. “I feel like our job is to educate people, and to provide honest food. It just wouldn’t feel right otherwise; I need to be able to sleep at night. How could I possibly do that if I was flogging something that I didn’t believe in myself?”
Because Eat For You believes that everyone deserves to eat good food, the company also donates half of its profits to feed those experiencing disadvantage.
“When we structured Eat For You, it was just built in,” Dickinson says. “Fifty percent of our profits are used to donate our food back to people who are in need. It’s the right thing to do. Everybody needs to eat good food, whether you can afford to buy a snack bar, or whether you’re experiencing incredible hardship.”
DIY Eat For You
As part of its mission to make good food available to everybody, Eat For You also shares the recipes for its bars and bites with the public.
“I copped so much flak from business people when we did that,” Dickinson says. “They said, ‘That’s your IP! You clearly don’t know what you’re doing.’ But the people who are going to use that recipe to make it at home are not the people who are going to buy it off the shelf. Because if you’ve got the time and the effort and those ingredients in your pantry, then you’re probably not the person who makes that impulse, convenience buy.
“I felt that we needed to do things differently. These things feel good. Are they unusual? Yes. But they feel right to us. We want everyone to have access to our food.”
For more about Eat For You, and to check out the range, go to eatforyou.com.au