Audrey & Alfie provides dietitian-designed bowls, finger food & lunch box items for babies, toddlers and children. The Melbourne-based business was created by Carly & Zoe, childhood friends who united over a passion to support families to provide their children with nutritious, wholesome meals and snacks without the mental and physical load of planning, preparing and cooking themselves. The products are made with the same recipes they use at home with their own little ones. They are made with whole foods from across the core food groups, and a great range of vegetables too. And importantly, their food uses a wide variety of flavours and textures, contains no added salt or refined sugar and is free from artificial preservatives, additives and fillers. The range was also designed for little ones across all ages and stages, with tasty and nutritious meals and snacks for on-the-go or at home. Their individual products and curated bundles are available for home delivery and also now available at a range of selected retailers.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Audrey & Alfie was started by two Melbourne-based mums, who were driven by a shared desire to ease the mental and physical load of parenthood, without compromising nutrition. While on parental leave and facing their return to work, Zoe and Carly were discussing the challenges of preparing wholesome food for their littles ones, while trying to juggle all of the other aspects of modern parenthood.
“We were concerned about the poor nutritional value of existing convenient baby and toddler meals, which typically came with added preservatives, or are heat treated to make them shelf stable. So, we both found ourselves regularly up late at night preparing home-made food, and figured there must be other parents facing similar challenges”.
So the idea for ‘Audrey and Alfie’ (named after their two little ones) was born – high quality, nutritious ready-made meals and snacks, made from whole foods just like you’d make at home.
Zoe, a dietitian, and Carly, an education and wellbeing policy professional, drew on their collective expertise with the goal of empowering parents to provide their little ones with a healthy start in life.
“We wanted to create a healthy alternative to the existing supermarket offerings to help take the pressure off busy families. We also wanted to provide parents with practical, evidence-based advice to help them confidently navigate their journey”.
“Our shared passion for the environment also led us to create products which minimise negative environmental impacts and ‘give back’ in some way. We made conscious choices to minimise packaging, use compostable or recyclable packaging wherever possible, and support low food miles by sourcing local ingredients, and maintaining a local manufacturing and distribution network. We also decided to feature endangered native wildlife on our packaging to help raise awareness about these unique and wonderful animals, with fun facts and information about their conservation status on our website. We also donate 1c from every product sold to help protect ecosystems and wildlife across Australia”.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Audrey and Alfie was 18 months in the making and launched in September 2023. Initially offering home delivery in Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria, the brand is now stocked in selected retailers with plans to expand interstate this year.
“It’s been an incredible journey so far. There is so much invisible work that goes on behind the scenes to even get to launch, so seeing our full range of products in our first retailer was a very humbling and proud moment. We’re so grateful to all our friends, family and people we’ve met along the way, who’ve so generously shared their expertise and support”.
“We’ve also learnt a lot and evolved our business so much from where we first started. For example, we originally thought we’d focus much more heavily on baby-led weaning options and finger foods for toddlers, but have found families are also in need of healthy options for older children. So, we expanded our range to incorporate finger foods suitable for lunchboxes and healthy treats for grown-ups, and these have been some of our most popular products”.
“Similarly, our tailored bundles have been really well received by families, so we’ve modified and expanded our range of bundles in response to make sure we keep meeting the needs of our customers”.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Audrey & Alfie started as solely an online delivery service direct to customers, but following a really positive response is now also stocked in a number of leading Melbourne-based retailers. “We are thrilled to be in some fantastic retailers so soon. This has been a great additional stream for the business and has helped us build our brand awareness, too”.
“The growing academic focus and media attention about the misleading health claims and poor nutrition of many existing supermarket brands in recent months, has led to more people actively searching for alternatives like ours. Parents are becoming increasingly conscious of the ingredients in their food and placing high value on health. They are looking for nutrition claims, wanting clean ingredients and whole foods and moving away from ultra-processed foods and artificial preservatives and additives”.