Yeppoonie Smoothie providing natural, nutritious meal replacements

Enterprise: Yeppoonie Smoothie

Why they stand out online: The burgeoning interest in its smoothie powders means the business is having to move to its third manufacturing facility in 12 months.

When Jacinta Plazzer, founder and owner of Yeppoonie Smoothie, was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in 2009 while she was pregnant with her second child, she determined to stay off medication and manage the diabetes with nutrition.

“I started eating a healthy, low-GI diet, incorporating foods rich in omega and fatty acids,” she says. “My absolute favourite easy way to add nutritious seeds, fruits and vegetables to my diet, however, has always been smoothies. It’s a quick and easy solution, just blend all ingredients together and there you have it, all macronutrients in one meal.”

Jacinta saw a great improvement in her overall health and energy levels with the dietary changes she made. Upon moving to Yeppoon in Queensland in 2021 after five years living in Thailand, she noticed that many Australians were struggling to lose weight and that most meal replacement powders on the market were not providing the right ingredients to provide satiety. In addition, most contained too much sugar or Stevia, and were protein-rich while lacking fibre and other ingredients to assist with digestive health and weight loss.

“As a new business I need to create brand awareness, and doing that online gives me the greatest reach.”

To address the need for 100 per cent natural, vegan, additive-free, and fibre- and nutrient-rich products, Plazzer founded Yeppoonie Smoothie. The homegrown Australian brand offers meal replacement powders in the form of smoothie blends, as well as healthy trail mixes for snacking. The products are made from high-quality Australian-grown ingredients sourced directly from farmers, including faba bean protein powder, which is processed in Horsham, Victoria – where Jacinta grew up.

“I love being able to buy from our farmers,” Jacinta enthuses, adding that all her suppliers are family-owned enterprises. “I only use Australian ingredients, and with so many fabulous ingredients being grown here, I am able to make incredibly nutritious blends that are great for digestive health, which I see as the starting point for improving your health.

“Get your gut in order, and other parts of your health fall into place,” she adds. “I have many customers buying Yeppoonie Smoothie powders after suffering with IBS and other similar issues, and having no success with other meal replacement powders that all contain Stevia, gums, preservatives, and often cheap whey protein, so obviously are not going to be more than a simple filler.”

Jacinta opted to launch her business online because her products are easily shopped for online and because, fundamentally, people looking for smoothie powders are doing their research online. “I can tell my story and talk about the benefits of my products online to a much larger audience than would be possible if they were sitting on a shelf in a store,” Jacinta explains. “As a new business I need to create brand awareness, and doing that online gives me the greatest reach.”

Jacinta’s key channels are Facebook – which is the biggest generator of visitors to her website, Google Ads and email marketing – her twice-a-week missive to her email subscribers generates half of her sales on the days they go out.

Online sales make up 90 per cent of the company’s revenue, although Jacinta recently started wholesaling and a growing number of small local retailers and cafes now stock her powders. “One of my customers, who runs a small boutique, swears by my products and is now selling them on to her customers – she is asking for stock on a weekly basis,” Jacinta enthuses.

Looking to the future, Jacinta is keen to grow the number of wholesalers stocking her powders, and to leverage the overseas interest in healthy, wholesome Australian products by going into the export market.

This article first appeared in issue 42 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine