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Tammy Fry talks about the future of Fry’s, 2020 and beyond.

To all our loyal friends, customers and suppliers,

I wanted to touch base with everyone on what 2020 was like for Fry’s and what 2021, and beyond, promises to be.

2020 was a life-changing year for so many. There was great sadness and hardship, but at the same time incredible stories of resilience and determination. We all learnt so much about ourselves, and the world we live in. We saw the best of humanity, and to some degree the worst.

It was also a really, really important year for us as a family.

In 2019, we realized that it was time to explore ways to future proof our business. The plant-based food sector had grown tremendously, and in order for Fry’s to remain relevant and competitive, we needed to partner with someone to help us grow, but (importantly) grow in the right way.

Fry’s is our family’s legacy – my parents have worked tirelessly to build it from a few products made in our kitchen, to producing for 30 different countries. As you know, despite our growth, we’ve always been motivated by principles over profit – making sure that the business lives our personal values at all times. This is why it was essential that we found the right partner – not just a large corporate that was only driven by profit. We had many offers (as a market-leading, established, plant-based food company we had a lot to offer) and it took us a long time, and many long nights around my parent’s kitchen table, to decide who that partner should be.

In early 2020 we finally settled on the then unnamed LIVEKINDLY Collective. With a few investors on board, and a small team of passionate food industry leaders who are determined to change the global food system (including the esteemed Kees Kruythoff our CEO), the LIVEKINDLY Collective showed us that they were totally aligned with our values. Their vision was our vision continued. We could clearly see that the company would grow, and be enormously successful, but would always live a value system that was aligned with our family’s. Through that success, we could see that we would be able to achieve our mission to make plant-based living the new normal. The Fry Family Food Co. under The LiveKindly Collective would be able to make real, sustainable change in the world.

How could we not be on board with that??

It was an exciting but nerve-wracking time and there were hours of backwards and forwards creating the deal that would keep Fry’s intact as the brand and business we’d grown, while also helping us to achieve new heights, reaching even more people, putting even less meat on plates, changing even more hearts and minds.

It is now almost a year since we signed the deal, and I can comfortably say we made the right choice. Fry’s is about to launch in the USA in the retail chain called Sprouts, we are working closely with LIVEKINDLY Collective’s product development teams to create extraordinary innovations, we have extended our factory at Fry’s which has allowed us to treble our output. We are also finally able to actively roll out what we call ‘Project Green’ which is a greening of all our packaging. It is still a work in progress, and there have been some ups and downs but I believe we are getting there.

However, some things have not changed. We still produce out of our factory in Durban, we are still actively involved in operations and new product development (my sister Hayley heads up our NPD department), and I am still leading the growth of the brand locally and globally. We are the only heritage brand in the Collective and our lived experience growing this business is called upon often to advise other teams in Europe, USA and elsewhere. I am incredibly proud that we can take what we learnt building and running Fry’s and use that to help other plant-based brands grow.

There has been change, and change is often hard. But I believe with all my heart that this change is for the betterment of the world, and all the beings we share it with.

We are celebrating 30-years of Fry’s this year and the Fry family will be front and centre of this celebration and we hope you will join us. We want to honour our loyal customers, our passionate colleagues and teammates and my parent’s legacy that will ultimately be part of something that changes the way we eat.

Yours in hope

Tammy Fry

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10 FUSS-PROOF, HEALTHY RECIPES FOR THE SNACK MONSTERS IN YOUR LIFE

Wherever you are in the world, parenting has taken some serious adjusting and 2021 looks to be much of the same. But that doesn’t mean the priority of what to feed our little ones has gone out the window! We’re all needing to be a lot more nimble to combat the pandemic juggle of work, life, safety and compassion.

At Fry’s we are all about family in all its’ different shapes and understanding the pressures of modern-day parenting, is what we do best as parents ourselves.

Convenient, healthy and made with an unwavering commitment to sourcing only the best ingredients with as low an impact on the planet as possible. Keeping the future of our family, your family and their family’s family foremost in our mind. Here are some tried and tested-by-kids recipes to keep your little tyke well-nourished and happily chomping away whether it’s for a back to school lunchbox, a home school snack box or lunch on the go! (P.S. – even the big kids in your life will love them!)

VEGAN PEEPING FACE NO-MEAT BALLS

It’s a PITA-Party! This perfect lunchtime delight is loaded with goodness and if you prep and bottle this superfood sauce on the weekend you’ll have a great on-the-go nutritious and flavour bursting condiment that can be used to jazz up a multitude of healthy snacks.

HUNGRY MONSTER PASTA

Family-friendly and packed with nutrients, this plant-based take on a beloved classic is sure to take this guesswork out of the mid-week slump. Double up and freeze for a heat-and-eat, post-school, munchies win. Make using our fuss-free No-Meatballs to halve the prep time and spend more of your precious moments catching up on your little person’s day.

SEA OCTOPUS PASTA WITH FUNKY SEAWEED

Your little ones will take great joy in helping you prep this magical, under-the-sea lunchtime special. Turning lunch into a fun and easy learning experience, healthy for body and mind.

MAC AND CHEESERPILLER

A childhood favourite packed with protein from our Mini Chipolatas. This vegan take on an old faithful gets gold stars for kid-friendly flavour. Every hungry caterpillar will want a bite.

VEGAN ROCKET SKEWERS WITH DIPPING SAUCE

This fun-filled take on healthy snacks for kids, will have your little one raving about snack time to the moon and back! Make with Fry’s Rice Protein and Chia Nuggets or our Chicken-Style Nuggets and zoom back to that meeting in rocket stopping time.

VEGAN SPINACH AND AVO GREEN MONSTER PASTA

Beat the “eat your greens” battle with this fun-filled and delicious recipe. Even the fussiest of grubs will take delight in slaying this monster! Served with Fry’s No-Meatballs for an extra kick of protein and texture.

RAINBOW WRAP

Get your kids eating the rainbow with a pot of Fry’s Golden Crumbed Schnitzel at the end! This bright, colourful, festival of veggies is raring to go in 20min flat.

THE LITTLE RASCAL BURGER

What little rascal isn’t a fan of a burger? Give this lunch-time treat a healthy kick loaded with veggie fillings that double up as a cheeky wink. Made with Fry’s Chicken-Style Burgers for quick, convenient plant-based lunch.

MINI COOKIE MONSTER PIZZAS

Pizza as cookies? The best of both worlds combined! Use a cookie cutter to make cute shapes like hearts and stars as your pizza base and decorate with your favourite veggie toppings like Fry’s Original Hotdogs.

THE GARDEN PATCH WITH BACKYARD BUGS

Snacks for kids has never looked this fun. Send your little explorer off on a healthy lunchtime adventure with this high-protein snack attack. Made with Fry’s Mini Chipolatas, Rice Protein and Chia Nuggets and Butternut Balls, this vegan snack platter is full of creativity and imagination.

THE SOY STORY, FRY’S TELLS IT FACTUALLY

The soya bean has been part of the human diet for thousands of years and the Ancient Chinese believed it to be one of the five sacred grains vital for life (alongside rice, wheat, barley and millet.) This high regard has been carried through time and has been supported by scientific investigation in more recent years. Soya is now recognized as a ‘functional food’ (meaning that it has health-promoting properties) and is one of an elite group of foods, to obtain approval by the U.S. FDA for a health claim. (The FDA currently recommends 25g of soya protein per day for adults to potentially reduce the risk of heart disease.) (1)

However, despite it being a longstanding natural source of nutrition and an established ‘functional food,’ there are elements of controversy regarding soya consumption.

The first point to establish in this debate is that different sources of soya may have different nutritional implications. Like the current carbohydrate controversy, (which ultimately boils down to carefully choosing high fibre, whole grains over refined, high sugar varieties), the type of soya consumed should also be closely examined. The widespread genetic modification of agricultural soya has been associated with negative health and environmental consequences, but this must not be confused with soya that has been naturally farmed.

There are many areas of health, where natural soya foods are recommended as a part of nutritional therapy. These include heart disease, menopause, hormone dependant cancers (breast, prostate and endometrial) and bone health.

What makes soya a healthy choice?

  • Soya is a high quality ‘complete’ protein!Soya is particularly important in a vegan diet, as it is one of the few plant products which provides protein that is nutritionally equivalent to meat.The nutritional quality of protein foods varies according to the amino acid profile of each. (Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and although the body can make some amino acids, there are certain ‘essential amino acids’ which are required from dietary sources.) ‘Complete’ proteins are those which contain all of the essential amino acids. All animal proteins are considered complete whereas plant proteins are generally incomplete (containing some, but not all of the essential amino acids.) However, soya is one of the few plant exceptions, which is recognized as a complete protein!Looking even more closely at protein quality, the WHO and U.S. FDA established the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) as the official assay for evaluating protein quality. Proteins that after correcting for digestibility provide amino acids equal to or in excess of human requirements receive a PDCAAS score of 1.0. Soya has been successfully rated as such, meaning that it meets the protein needs of human adults, when consumed as a sole source of protein. (2)
  • Soya is cholesterol-free!Cholesterol is only found in animal products, thus although soya protein has been classed as a protein equivalent to meat, chicken and fish, it has the added benefit of providing a cholesterol-free alternative.
  • Soya is a good plant-source of Iron!There are different chemical forms of iron, some of which have a greater absorption potential than others. Although the general assumption is that plant based sources of iron have a lower bioavailability than iron obtained from animal proteins, recent research has shown that most of the iron contained within soya, is of the well absorbed form, ferritin! (3)
  • Soya protein is a wise choice for sports nutrition!The importance of protein in the diet of athletes (for muscle development during training,) is well known. What remains misunderstood on this topic, is the actual amount and preferred sources of dietary protein recommended to achieve muscle building. Protein needs are dependent on the type of sport and the total energy intake of athletes and whole food sources are usually recommended above supplements. Excessive protein consumption can result in compromising of glucose levels, dehydration and kidney strain. (2) However, there is evidence that suggests soya protein puts less of a strain on the kidneys compared with intakes of animal protein. (4) Furthermore, high intakes of animal protein (which also contain fat), often result in a higher fat diet. This is not recommended for sportsmen and women due to the associated influence on body fat percentage. Soya can thus be embraced as a good protein source for athletes, being high in protein, but low in fat.
  • Soya contains isoflavones!Soya contains healthy phytochemicals (plant compounds) called isoflavones. There are various types of isoflavones, but two specifically (genistein and diadzen) have been studied closely and found to be very similar in structure to the hormone estrogen.These so-called ‘plant hormones’ are much weaker than true hormones, yet seem to have a positive influence on estrogen balancing in the body and have been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.Phytoestrogens found in soya foods are also able to act as antioxidants, carcinogen blockers and tumor suppressors and may exert a protective effect against hormone related cancers by binding at estrogen receptor sites.Further studies suggest that plant based estrogens may reduce the incidence of vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes) of menopause and lastly that they may protect women against osteoporosis by the action of genestein, which stimulates osteoblasts (bone forming cells). (2)Are there side effects to soya?As long as you are choosing good quality soya, which has not been genetically modified, there is little reason to avoid it, with the obvious exception being soya allergy.As far as the food hormone hype is concerned, soya does not have any mistrustful mechanisms! Dietary estrogens are at least 1000 times weaker when compared to the strength of circulating estrogens in most mammals. (5)Commonly asked questions allude to various eccentric theories including the effect of plant estrogens on men. However, evaluation of the clinical evidence concludes that isoflavones do not have feminizing effects on men at intakes even higher than are typical in the diet of Asian males. (6) Further, results of a meta-analysis (which is a summary study of previous studies) show no effect of soya protein on the reproductive hormones in men. (7)There have also been propositions in the literature linking soya foods to gout. (All protein foods contain substances called purines, which yield uric acid as a by-product of metabolism, and could thus supposedly aggravate acid build up and the symptoms of gout.) However, although soya (being a protein) does have a moderate purine content, it is much lower than that of many high purine animal proteins. It is also worth noting that improvements in the efficacy of gout medication have largely replaced the need for rigid dietary restriction of purines in recent times.

    What about supplements?

    There is a big difference between soya based foods and soya supplements, which contain a much higher concentration of isoflavones. There is no scientific evidence to support the practice of mega-dosing with soya and like most other healthy nutritional elements, soya is recommended as part of a balanced diet, where preference is always given to food sources over supplements.

    Conclusions

    Clinical studies indicative of the health benefits associated with soya, have typically used between 50 and 100mg of soya derived isoflavones. This is equivalent to 15-20g soya protein (3). Fry’s products generally contain 8-10g soya protein per serving, which is reflectively a perfectly moderate level in accordance with the current science for safe and regular consumption.
    Fry’s products incorporate a blend of vegetable proteins, including, but not limited soya. We’ve done our research and we believe in balance, moderation and variety.
    Adding to this, we strongly recommend choosing soya products that are GM free! (which is the start of another story, altogether  ?)

    References:

    (1) Hasler CM. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Functional foods. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2004;104(5): 814-26.
    (2) Mahan LK and Escott-Stump S; Krause’s Food, Nutrition and Diet Therapy; WB Saunders Company; 2000; pg58,548,275-6.
    (3) Messina, M; Insights gained from 20 years of soy research; The Journal of Nutrition. 2010; 140(12) 2289S-2295S
    (4) Messina, M; A Brief Historical Overview of the Past Two Decades of Soy and Isoflavone Research; The Journal of Nutrition. 2010; 140(12) 2289S-2295S
    (5) Setchell KD, Phytoestrogens:the biochemistry, physiology, and implication for human health of soy isoflavones; The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.1998;68(6)1333S-1346S.
    (6) Setchell KD; Fertil Steril. 2010 May 1;93(7):2095-104. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.03.002. Epub 2010 Apr 8.
    (7) Setchell KD; Fertil Steril. 2010 Aug;94(3):997-1007. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.04.038. Epub 2009 Jun 12.