#PerthGirlBoss 8: Jessica Shaw of Health Nut Foods

I love nut butters, they are a daily staple in my diet. However I hate that majority of nut butters in the market are full of nasties such as preservatives, sugars and added fat (not just the natural fats found in nuts). It was last year that I stumbled across Health Nut Foods – hand crafted nut butters that are gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, preservative free, vegan and 100% natural! But better than all that, these nut butters and delish! The brains, face & beauty behind Health Nut Foods is Jessica Shaw who makes all 8 different (yummy) nut butter varieties herself!

Having been a fan of Health Nut Foods for a while I was super keen to hear from Jessica herself about her background and what inspired her to create her own nut butter business. Not surprisingly, she is one busy woman! (Warning, you will be craving something a little nutty by the end of this interview!)

1. Tell me little bit about yourself – why did you decide to start Health Nut Foods?

I am Jessica, the 27 year old owner and creator of Health Nut Foods, a company specialising in hand crafted, all natural nut butters. Health Nut Foods started a year ago when my partner planted the seed that my nut butter was so delicious that I should sell it. I have always loved experimenting in the kitchen, however before this, had never thought of selling anything that I made. I had worked numerous jobs since I was 14 and had never felt like I had found my true calling in life, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to create a job that was challenging, fulfilling and made me happy!

2. Have you always been passionate about nutrition, health and well-being?

Prior to starting Health Nut Foods, I had worked for almost 10 years in Health and Fitness, mainly out of gyms and fitness centres. As a child I was always known as the ‘tomboy’ or sporty one, so I guess this was a natural progression for me. I competed in calisthenics for 18 years while growing up, participated in swimming, athletics and volleyball at school and then was very active in the gym, combining weights, cardio and classes. I now am enjoying learning the art of Muay Thai and hope to one day get in the ring.

Being in the fitness industry and surrounded by so many knowledgeable colleagues, I learnt a lot about nutrition. I found that a lot of the health foods available are either not as healthy as we all think or are not as tasty as I would like. From here I found my happy place, in the kitchen creating foods that fueled my body, were unprocessed and tasted delicious.

3. Was it hard to get your business up & running?

To be honest, I had no idea how or where to start in creating a product that I was able to sell to the public. I had always attended farmers markets on the weekend, however it never occurred to me how strict the process was to become a vendor at these markets and how much work goes in behind the scenes. It took a good 3 months for me to gain some momentum, acquiring all of the required licences and meeting health and government standards before I was able to sell my first jar at the Subiaco Farmer’s Market.

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4. What does a “normal” week for Jessica Shaw look like?

I have a pretty strict roster when it comes to my weekly schedule and I try not to sway too much from my regular routine, which consists of:

Monday: After a weekend at the Markets, Monday is my ‘day off’, where I clean the house, catch up on washing (on a good week I can get 5 loads done in 1 day), fill my fridge with food for the week and catch up on paperwork and emails.
Tuesday: Tuesday is normally my roasting day, where I roast up to 250kg of nuts in a day. I buy all of my nuts raw and toast them myself at a low temperature. This ensures their nutrients aren’t ruined by high temperatures and nasty oils.
Wednesday: I attend the City Fix markets in Central Park, Perth. Although the markets only run between 11-2, by the time I pack and unpack my car it normally takes up majority of my day.
Thursday: Production day. This is my favourite day of the week, where I put my headphones on and crank up the music so I can have a boogie while I am grinding up the nuts into individual batches of nut butter.
Friday: I normally sit in front of the TV with a movie on for a couple of hours in the morning while I hand label the jars that I made the day before and then get my car packed and ready for the weekend ahead. I finish the day with an evening yoga session to calm me down and reflect on the week.
Saturday: I am up at the crack of dawn to set up at either Subiaco or Manning Farmer’s Markets and spend the arvo catching up with Mum and Dad.
Sunday: Up with the roosters again, at either Growers Green, Stirling or City Farm Markets. The afternoon is normally saved for some quality time with my partner, normally involving some binge TV series watching… at the moment we are hooked on Sons of Anarchy!

On top of this I go to Champtions Gym for Muay Thai training every evening for a class or two to practice my skills and catch up with some great friends.

5. Most people have probably seen you at their local farmer’s market – what do you love about weekend markets? Is there a market that is a particular favourite of yours – why?

The weekend markets are definitely the highlight of my week! I love catching up with all of the other stallholders and my customers. I meet a lot of like minded people, who care about what they eat, where it came from and how it will benefit them. It amazes me that come rain, hail or shine, people make the effort to get out of bed early and support us local businesses. I am thankful every week for my beautiful customers who sometimes drive across Perth just to get their fix of nut butter.

Choosing a favourite market is difficult, they all have different vibes, quirky stalls and friendly people and they each have different specialties. For the sake of not being a fence sitter, however, I will have to say Subiaco is the market I look forward to most. I have been there for almost a year now and in this time have made friends with some of my long term customers and enjoy catching up with the other stall holders. There is also a great breakfast culture… meaning I never leave the market with an empty tummy!

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6. What do you feel is your greatest success so far?

To be honest I am just happy that I was able to start my own business and manage to get where I am today being a one woman army! I have no desire to take over the world with my business, to me success is seeing the smiles on peoples faces when they taste my nut butter and enjoy it.

7. Are your nut butters are organic?

Not all of the ingredients in my products are organic, as some products are extremely difficult to obtain and can be very pricey when organic. I do, however, know exactly where all of my nuts come from and am confident that they are farmed without harmful chemicals. Most of my nuts are sourced locally, which means that I am supporting other small businesses like myself!

8. Which nut butter is your favourite?

This is such a hard question, I definitely go through fazes. At the moment my partner and I go through about 1kg of the Super Choc Hazelnut between us!! This gives me a chocolate fix without the sugar… or the guilt!

9. What is your favourite way to use or eat your nut butters? Do you have a “go to” recipe?

I have two favourite ways:
1. I make a berry icecream by blending frozen berries, protein powder and water and top it with Super Choc Hazelnut. The cold berries sets the nut spread and brings me back to my childhood when I used to have Ice Magic on top of my sorbet.
2. A fresh fruit salad with natural yogurt, topped with Vanilla Cashew Macadamia. Simple and delicious.

10. What can we expect from Health Nut Foods in the future? Do you have any future plans or ventures in the works?

At the moment I am playing with some new flavours, so if you have any ideas or food cravings feel free to send them my way!!

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Make sure you follow Health Nut Foods on Instagram (@healthnutfoodsaus) so you can stay up to date with Jessica’s market schedule, as well as new products and great recipe ideas and ways to use her scrummy nut butters! Bed too warm and can’t make it to the the markets? You can conveniently shop the full Health Nut Foods via Jessica’s website! (Pssst you can’t go wrong with Maple Pecan!)

JB xx

 

 

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