Melbourne mum’s Why Meat Company lands $3m Woolworths and Coles deal

A Melbourne mum, who suffered a life threatening brain bleed last year, scored a $3 million deal with Woolworths and Coles for a product she dreamt up in her kitchen.

Emma White has faced monumental health struggles on the way to her products hitting the major supermarket’s shelves.

During Covid lockdowns and homeschooling her two kids, while also running her food consultant business, the pressure cooker of life was set to maximum.

The mum of two kids, aged 10 and 6, unexpectedly suffered a severe headache and was quickly rushed to hospital for scans and treatment where she was diagnosed with a dangerous condition that had the potential to take her life, a subarachnoid haemorrhage on the brain.

“I had a bleed to the brain, which they say is severe, and it’s a really touchy subject for me,” she told

“It means a bleed in the liquid of brain but I was in hospital for a week and resting for a week and it took a while to get back to full health.

“They did a lot of tests to see if had I blood clots in brain to see if they would explode.”

Ms White said the incident was a “freak of nature” and doctors are unsure if it will happen again.

“I don’t know how it happened or why it happened. I don’t have any head trauma or head injuries or history in my family,” she said.

“It was just the pressure of so many obligations and it shook our family quite a lot and it still does to this day. It was scary for my oldest daughter.

“It was obviously being under a lot of pressure because I consult to the food industry and at the time we went into a massive boom stage because the whole country went into lockdown and people bought heaps of products off shelf as they thought they were going to starve.”

But the experience made her glad she had decided to pursue her dream of running her own food company pouring $100,000 of the family’s money to kick it off.

The idea for her business The Why Meat Company was inspired by a trip to America three years ago where she attended a conference that shockingly warned that the planet was unsustainable if people continued to consume a carnivore diet.

It inspired the food technology expert to jump in the kitchen to create plant-based sausage rolls as they were “more challenging and there was a gap in the market at the time”. She succeeded in making two variants – a wheat-based product and a gluten-free one.

“Being in the food industry doing development for other people I decided that why do I always give my intellectual property to someone else?” she said.

“I ended up trying to launch a business under my own banner and brand, and it’s a self-funded family business, so we have had no funding from anywhere else.”

The sausage rolls landed in Woolworths nationally just as the pandemic hit and although the store ranging was later reduced, Ms White also introduced a plant-based party pie option as well with both selling for $8.

Recently, she landed a deal with Coles launching nationally in over 800 stores for two different variants of potato cakes retailing for $6.40.

“The mini potato cakes were because there is nothing out there like that on the shelf and it’s brand new for the retail market, we were the first to market,” she said.

“It’s an air fryer friendly product.”

The business is expecting combined revenue of $3 million per year as a result of the supermarket deals.

But beyond that Ms White wants to help people transition to less meat in their diet.

“My mindset is if you wanted to reduce consumption of meat then you need a good transition product that is family friendly and inclusive. So the go to is party food like sausage rolls and party pies and eating ours, no one would know difference if it’s meat-based or not,” she said.

The mum, who is flexitarian, said she also set her products apart by using pea protein instead of soy, which is an allergen.

But she said the key to finding success with plant-based products was getting them in people’s hands as there is a lot of “scepticism” in the space.

“They have that mindset that plant-based food can be average and not taste good, but getting it into someone’s hand is worth $1 million dollars in a way as they taste it and then spread the word,” she added.

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