I remember school weekends spent packing boxes, moving stock, playing in pallet houses and catching rides on conveyor belts. I remember tasting and tasting again, to be sure. I remember a Mom & Dad who worked tirelessly, day in and day out, night in and night out. I remember the days where every penny counted and the simple things in life were treasured.
We were brought up in a humble home. One with a big heart, strong values and a work ethic to boot! We were, of course, a family of vegetarians, in South Africa and had folks who believed you should follow your dreams and leave a positive mark in the world. They also believed in good-old-fashioned hard work and striving for perfection in everything you did. It was always about the commitment and the effort. Conversations at the dinner table included the trivial school day report-backs and then morality, ethics, the state of the world, and an update on the latest plant-based burger recipe they managed to crack that day!
I guess, Fry’s is so much a part of our lives, that it could never not be a part of our lives, so it made sense that after we completed our studies, we started helping out in the family business. I started the marketing department (I mean, desk!). Dad relegated me to the pre-weighing warehouse, where I was to “market” and manage the pre-weighing team. Armed with a mop-cap and laptop, I found myself sitting in the middle of a warehouse, at an upcycled pallet desk covered in spice dust and smelling of burger patties daily! Hayley, my younger sister, got it a bit luckier. She came later, and by then, things at Fry’s had stepped up a bit! She was sent into the factory armed with gumboots, mop cap, coat and mask. She was to assist with product development. And just like that, we found our niches. Stacey, the youngest sister, slipped in the back door and now manages international packaging compliance.
Dad’s philosophy was a simple one: everyone was to be treated equally (whether or not you were family), and everyone had to put 100% effort into their daily work. And so it was!
Fast forward 18 years.
As a now fully-fledged second-generation family business, we decided that we wanted to up the ante a notch or two. We wanted to keep things interesting and of course to continue to fulfil our passion for all things plant-based, nutritious and tasty.
It all started over a pot in the family kitchen where we were making salted caramel and then we thought, wouldn’t it be nice if Fry’s could make a non-dairy ice cream, that tasted better than ice cream, ice cream and then topped it with this pot of incredibly tasty homemade salted caramel…and just like that, an idea was born!
We didn’t just stop there, as you may or may not already know, when we get onto a bandwagon, we seem to all jump right on. We started looking at new things that we could make to help people transition more easily to a plant-based diet.
We think the best is yet to come!
But we did want to share Chapter 1 “From Piggeries to Veggies” in a film – please watch it and share it if it inspires you in any way. It shares our authenticity and passion, our emotions and gives an insight into our lives growing up in South Africa. Happy watching!
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