Meet the new owners of Sugar Free Food

Give us a quick intro!

We are an international family with three sons in their early, mid and late teens. Mum (Sawae) and Dad (Murray) met in Tokyo, Japan, where Murray worked for the past 20+ years. 

Mum is big on gardening, dance, yoga, and is a heck of a cook!! Dad is a pretty typical Kiwi guy who is fairly active with walk/hiking, camping and riding his motorbike. 

What motivated you to buy this business?

In 2019 our family moved back to New Zealand after 20 years away. With the kids in school Dad continued to work remotely in an offshore role, but having left his job for good in 2022 it was time to look for something new. 

We made the family decision to buy Sugar Free Food because we felt a sense of "fit" around the themes of health, weight management, and diabetes. We hope we can make a positive impact on society by helping others produce sweet and healthy foods.

Along with the theme of health, as an international family we were very interested in moving into an import business, so again the fit was a good one. We were already exploring ideas.

Finally, as parents we saw an opportunity for our family to unite around a business that our children can both learn from and grow with. Our hope is that our kids can take an active role with real responsibility as we build.

What do you intend to do with the business?

For us to be successful, we need to help our retail and food production partners to be successful. Obviously if we can help them do better, then our products will do better, but we also plan to expand our reach so that our products can be accessed in more retail outlets. 

We want to expand the range of products we offer and that will require us to listen to our customers. Hopefully we can even start a line of sugar free Sweetnz treats together like candies, cookies, drinks or ice-cream that are made in partnership with our customers.

At the very least we hope to make an impact helping food makers to develop sweet and tasty treats that keep ourselves and our kids healthy and happy. 

What are our views on sugar?

It may be because we have diabetes in the family that we have never been huge consumers of sugar, but we definitely consumed... in fact you could say Dad especially has a pretty bad sweet tooth!! 

Our concern with sugar also comes from witnessing the weight and poor health outcomes that come from our approach to unhealthy "convenient" food that is high in sugar content. While sugar isn't the only problem out there, giving people a way to reduce calories without entirely giving up their sweet tooth is a start.

While raising the kids sugar consumption was definitely on our minds. We encouraged our kids not to suck down litres of cola from McDonalds, and growing up in Tokyo it's weird to know they drank (and enjoyed) much more bottled tea more than Cola!!  

Are you full keto?

Great question. No. A full ketogenic diet fits certain people well, but for us we are more "part-time" keto or "keto lite". We manage our sugar and carb intake and have meals and even full days where we eat mostly Keto'ish. Dad even likes to go full carnivore on occasion, but none of us can be called "full Keto". 

We are all different so we think everyone should eat and drink to meet own health and well-being needs. Experimentation helps you find what works for you and your goals whatever they may be, but the key to it all is balance

We are believers in the occasional "fast" as well. Nothing crazy, but just going without a meal like humans did for tens of thousands of years is probably not a bad thing. Humans used to go hungry growing or chasing their food, while now we have high calorie food 24/7 via an app on your phone. No waiting. No chasing.

You should probably talk to a nutritionist or doctor before doing anything wild, but you can start by substituting sugar with natural sweeteners, supporting bakeries and shops with low carb or keto foods, and of course reducing your carbs or skipping a breakfast or two per week. The real hurdle is a mental one, not physical.

Do you use your own products?

Yes, of course! We take every opportunity to experiment with natural sweeteners. Whether making our own chocolate, baking, glazing food, or sweetening and flavouring drinks, there is a lot you can do with the product range we have. 

Dad's favourite is a simple Golden Brown on top of porridge. Mum's is using the Blend's in baking or perhaps using the Caramel Liquid Stevia to flavour dark chocolates. Our youngest son is also a bit of a baker-turned-patisserie, so we look forward to him experimenting as well. He wants to make a sugar free bubble tea.