Interview with Jolie Gindi, co-founder of Yummzy

Find out how Jolie Gindi launched Yummzy, low carb, keto-friendly treats, which include cakes, desserts and a dreamy chocolate hazelnut spread.

What is keto and low carb?

The ketogenic diet, commonly known as the “keto” diet, is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that aims to put the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. 

This diet is also used extensively to support an anti-inflammatory lifestyle or by people who have epilepsy, cancer and more recently ADHD.

Low-carbohydrate diets simply restricts carbohydrate intake without necessarily inducing ketosis. Both diets can lead to weight loss and helping manage medical conditions such as Diabetes.

Where did the idea for Yummzy come from?

Necessity! Having been diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic as a child it was vital that I quickly secured a sound grasp of good food, and found ways to placate my sweet tooth cravings without causing longer-term damage.

The underlying thought is that severe medical conditions needn’t be a life sentence for your taste buds because healthier living and great tastes aren’t mutually exclusive!                                             

What’s your career background?

My co-founder, Adrian acquired an undergraduate degree in Sports Science and now tutors kids with autism and other neurodiversities so that they can eventually re-join mainstream school.  

I on the other hand am a seasoned analytics professional who has spent the last 17 years working across an array of technology/innovation themed projected.  

What have been the biggest obstacles you have had to overcome?

Misinformation regarding ingredient integrity and recipe breakdowns. It’s still far too easy for brands to pretend to be something they really aren’t. 

For example many brands include needless bulking milk or gluten fillers (to build in ‘extra chewiness’) to slash recipe costs. Products can pretend to be reduced sugar when in truth all they’ve really done is swap out everyday sugar for cynical sugar alternatives like maltitol or coconut sugar. 

The simple reality is that for the most part superior ‘real’ ingredients cost more. You wouldn’t put chip oil instead of petrol in your car and expect it to work so well, so why do we think our bodies can be short-changed long-term with synthetic, over-processed foods? 

What have been your best lockdown lessons?

We originally thought that losing our original café at the height of lockdown would mark the start of the end for Yummzy.

And while we miss the constant interaction with our diehards, the comfort of an accessible local following, the fact remains that a great idea can exist in many formats and if that means we transition initially into a cult online/B2B entity before returning to our bricks and mortar roots (albeit this time via mainstream retailers OR as a vibrant franchise model…) then that will be a good lesson in ‘keeping the faith’ learnt.

What’s your proudest moment to date?

Without question the arrival of Yummtella in a new swish jar livery. This product only came into being because one of our café customers asked if could assemble a jar of the amazing spread we used to put in our handmade chocolates. 

Suddenly this out-of-the-blue enquiry kept reappearing and so eventually we had a new much loved ‘hero’ line on our hands.  

Who is your ideal customer?

Yummtella genuinely has far-reaching appeal because, in the first instance, it’s all about getting access to great tasting, protein-rich treats that just so happen to meet the very distinct albeit inflexible needs of a number of increasingly influential ‘food minorities’ – from vegans and diabetics through to coeliacs and lactose intolerants.  

Essentially its all about committing to simple yet sustainable clean-deck ingredients that don’t cut corners, including palm oil, cynical bulkers (vegetable oil, filler grains), artificial nasties (preservatives, flavourings…) or sugar by-the-back-door maltitol.

By casting such a wide net, our original café/eatery audience attracted everyone from health-conscious footballers and celebrities through to well-informed nutritionists, protein-seeking gym enthusiasts and most importantly conscientious parents hunting down meticulously balanced treats, post-school healthy treats to tide both them and their healthier living kids over to teatime.

What’s your advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

I have two entrepreneurial nuggets:

  1. Adversity fuels ingenuity – Bad moments are rarely as debilitating or as permanent as they first appear.
  2. Never short-change your core principles – Of course any business model requires a little bit of give and take but NEVER deviate from your central reason for being!

Find out more about Yummzy.