Hello! I’m Darren. My wife and I founded Oatberry in 2015. We are both professionals, sportspeople, foodies and parents to two young children.
My story is a true tale of necessity mothering invention. I have always suffered from multiple allergies, including food allergies. Because of genetics, my children have also inherited some of these allergies. This often makes us unwell. I recall many times in my childhood and adulthood when I was forced to opt out of family gatherings or social events and stay in bed because I had eaten something "wrong", and my allergies were flaring up. As a result, I often felt helpless in these situations and my mood would spiral downwards. The tipping point came when I was hospitalized for a month (including 5 days in ICU). Just before I turned 40, I decided that I needed to find sustainable solutions to feed myself properly. I committed to embarking on a journey in search of nutritious allergy-friendly foods that I could safely eat on a daily basis, to take the pain and guesswork out of my meal planning. One criterion was that the food had to taste good enough for my kids to enjoy eating it! Having grown up in the age of boxed breakfast cereals, I naturally started looking in supermarket aisles for cereals that were free from common allergens such as gluten, milk, soy, peanuts and eggs, but to my dismay, I found that they were few and far between. I started reading the back panel food labels more carefully and discovered that most cereal products were also highly processed and laden with unnecessary amounts of additives, preservatives, sodium and refined or artificial sugars.
My frustration quickly turned into determination. My wife and I decided to take things into our own hands and experimented with granola recipes in our own kitchen. With the feedback from family and friends, we continued tweaking our recipes to achieve the perfect sweetness levels and desired crunch that we wanted. When friends started requesting for us to supply larger batches for events or as gifts, we were pleasantly surprised and spurred on to take our little home project to the next level, excited at the prospect of helping other allergy-sufferers like myself, or simply helping others eat better. We engaged the help of the Food Innovation & Resource Centre (FIRC) - a joint collaboration between Singapore Polytechnic and SPRING Singapore. Their expertise in food innovation and nutrition helped us with perfecting our formulas, conducting shelf life evaluations and nutritional analyses and recommending packaging options. Our first Oatberry Granola packs entered into the local market at the end of 2017. In June 2019, we opened The Oatberry Café, the first-of-its-kind cafe specializing in granola and all things oats, where customers can enjoy freshly-baked granola, organic açaí bowls, oat energy balls, oat waffles, smoothies and specialty coffee.
Today, I can proudly say that our kids are avid fans of Oatberry. They are the first "customers" to try each new product, and give us honest and direct feedback like only a child can. Likewise, we make it a point to constantly seek out and value feedback and conversations with our customers, which only serves to help us improve and make our products even better. We are grateful for each of our customers and valued partners, whom we are sure, like us, have high expectations of their food - to be clean, honest and nutritious, yet delicious. We sincerely hope that you enjoy our products and that Oatberry can help you to Start The Day Right, every day!
Find out more about food allergies here: www.healthhub.sg/a-z/diseases-and-conditions/104/topics_food_allergies