Feature

It's about life

Green Lifestyle online

Hear how the founders of the Aboutlife cafés & stores are rivalling the big supermarkets.

Aboutlife-sisters

The founding sisters of Aboutlife, Jodie Steward and Tammie Phillips, at the new store that's just opened up in Double Bay.

Credit: Caitlin Howlett

Aboutlife healthy salad

Aboutlife's signature Kale and Carrot Salad with Tahini Dressing.

Aboutlife store

The new Double Bay store is the biggest of the Aboutlife marketplaces around Sydney – other stores are located in Bondi Junction, Cammeray and Rozelle.

Aboutlife-flowers

The Aboutlife store in Double Bay has a dedicated florist – Ally Bell Flowers and Foliage.

Credit: Caitlin Howlett

Aboutlife-fruit

Credit: Caitlin Howlett

- Advertisement -

Started by two sisters, the Aboutlife story began over 10 years ago, and has grown into one of the most popular marketplaces to buy wholesome food in Sydney. Now, Aboutlife is one of Australia’s fastest growing holistic lifestyle hubs, offering a one stop shop for natural products and wholefood nutrition featuring a wholefood supermarket including deli, café and natural pharmacy in addition to a catering service.

I was lucky enough to meet up with the founding sisters of Aboutlife, Jodie Steward and Tammie Phillips, at the new store that's just opened up in Double Bay. On my visit, just before lunchtime, the store is bustling with vibrant activity, flowers, fresh food, and great the smell of organic, fair trade coffee. I'm overtaken by a sense of just how wonderful this place really is as I look through the window next to the café to see the about-to-be knocked down Woolies building next door.

Read on for our chat with the Director Jodie about how the Aboutlife cafés & stores are indeed rivalling the big supermarkets with their new, ethical brand of food stores.

Where did the concept for Aboutlife spring from?
"Tammie (my sister) and I really believed that people should want to eat in a way that was kind to their bodies and that of the planet – we personally had this passion and wanted to share it with others."

Why do you think it works so well?
"People generally want to do the right thing. They want to be kind to this Earth, they want to be healthy and they want to be socially responsible, for example, by making sure that animals have been treated well, farmers have been paid a fair price, that there is a fair trade agreement in place for any products coming from poorer countries. To be able to research all of this criteria (and more) for all of our products is extensive enough for our buyers let alone consumers. So I think that many people know that if they shop at Aboutlife we have done that work for them and it gives them good peace of mind.

"We also hear a lot from our customers that grocery shopping with us is more of an adventure than a chore – they love to read the stories we often supply on the labels."

What makes the new Double Bay store different, and what’s your favourite part of it?
"It’s our biggest and flagship store. We have a florist and some wonderful self-service sections – there's a Burrito bar, a make your own pizza bar, salads, soups, and more – all packed with fresh, nutrient-filled ingredients. Other than that, the new store is all that the other Aboutlife stores offer, plus a little more.

Are there plans for Aboutlife to expand further? What would be your dream vision for the future?
"Surry Hills next, and then stores in other locations around Sydney."

Most of the time, people associate ‘chain stores’ with bad food. How do you make Aboutlife work to provide great, real, fresh and healthy food for hungry shoppers in all the stores?
"On no we aren’t a chain are we?! We have a team of 50 chefs working around the clock, seven days a week. Good food is what we are about so compromising on that is not an option."

How does Aboutlife support the farmers that grow the fresh produce, and the other healthy food companies, that are sold in the stores?
"We pay a true and fair price for all produce that we sell. We order in a timely and regular manner, meaning that all seasonal produce is purchased as and when it is ready. We don’t bulk buy and cold store potentially leaving farmers with un-harvested and unsold crops.

"We take excess crops when in abundance, again paying a fair (possibly lower) price for excess supply – and such excesses are then offered at discount to all Aboutlife customers, and this produce is also used in production kitchen.

"Farmers are fairly recognised in store, and also on our social media. The growers are credited at merchandising, and shown on social media, potentially giving them a true customer following."

Can you share a simple tip with our readers on how to ensure you eat good, fresh food on a budget in our busy daily lifestyles?
"Eat seasonally and locally – that keeps the price and the food miles down and the nutrient intake up."

Could you share a quick recipe or food combo that you’re loving at the moment?
"Our signature Kale and Carrot Salad with Tahini Dressing is a delicious and nutritious combination of raw vegetables, making the perfect accompaniment to any dish or on its own."
[See below, and click through arrows on the story image to right for the picture.]

Aboutlife Signature Kale and Carrot Salad with Tahini Dressing:

Ingredients
3 carrots, shredded
1 bunch of kale, shredded
Sesame seeds

Dressing
6 tbsp of tahini
Juice of half lemon
½ tsp of salt
3 tbsp of olive oil
3 tbsp of water

Preparation
Dressing – Combine all the ingredients and mix through thoroughly with a fork.
Salad – Combine carrot and kale. Toss through lemon juice and olive oil. Serve on a big salad plate drizzled with raw tahini dressing and sesame seeds on top. Serves 2, or 4 as a side dish.

------
Click through the arrows on the image above to see the final product for this delicious salad, and for a sneak peek of the new Aboutlife store in Double Bay.