Losing eight kilograms in six weeks by cutting out sugar was the catalyst for Emma Dumas’ career in making muesli.
Emma was a successful television producer for more than 20 years – with the Nine Network, in her own production company and freelance – with credits to her name such as Frontline, The Panel and Thank God You’re Here. She also had a lifelong interest in food and nutrition. The two pursuits finally merged when she took part in a six-week diet and exercise trial for Nine’s What’s Good For You in 2005.
Encouraged by a friend and personal trainer Donna Aston, Emma took the diet-only approach, while another woman exercised and cut out bread, sugar and processed foods and a third woman exercise but maintained her usual diet.
“I was surprised because I didn’t have a lot to lose, but the weight just fell off,” Emma says.
“It really changed the way I think about food. I didn’t eat processed food or grains for many years. Now I might have some brown rice with a curry, but the one thing I still steer clear of is sugar.”
Emma realised breakfast cereals were one of the biggest culprits for high sugar content. So when Donna Aston confirmed one of the hardest challenges for her clients was finding a truly nutritious and filling breakfast, Emma set about making one.
It started out as a small-tome operation in her kitchen. Donning a hairnet and gloves, Emma initially made small batches of sugar-free muesli mix just for Donna and her clients. Before long, she was making more than 200 kilos a month and manually packaging the product into zip-lock bags.
“By that time, more was known about the problems sugar causes and I realised we had a unique position in what is a really busy marketplace,” she says.
The Muesli first appeared on commercial shelves in 2010, followed a year later by the gluten-free variety.
Since being officially established as a brand, The Muesli has introduced on-the-go single portions, bulk boxes and The Muesli Organic Rolled Oats.
To raise awareness on the dangers of sugar, Emma created the annual Sugar Free September event that encourages people to avoid sugar for a month and experience the resulting physical and mental effects.
She also introduced a helpful alternative to the confusing and often misleading ‘Health Star Rating System,’ called The One Line Rule – check one line on nutrition panels, sugar. If it’s over 5%, move on. The rule is an easy way to quickly check if packaged product is loaded with sugar or not.
Now with educational campaigns, awareness-raising events and a product with an unmatched nutritional profile, The Muesli’s main focus is to make eating healthy simple and accessible for everyone.