An exciting two days at Naturally Good resulted in over 100 leads for I Am Grounded

Feb 16, 2022

When you have a totally unique food product, the best way for people to understand what it’s all about is to actually taste it.

For Queensland’s I Am Grounded, showcasing their coffee fruit snack bars with samples at the 2021 Naturally Good Expo paid off. Not only were visitors delighted at trying something so different, it also led to the business scoring more than 100 leads from people wanting to know more.

To top it off, the business also won the expo’s 2021 Pitch Fest competition, winning a prize package worth over $10,000.

Vanessa and Lachlan on stage at the Naturally Good Pitch Fest 2021

“As first-time exhibitors, it was really amazing for us,” says co-founder Vanessa Murillo. “We got over 100 leads from visitors and had great conversations and exposure to connections. As a result, we secured a number of key distributors and meetings. It’s been incredibly worth it for us at the stage of our business as an early stage first-to market CPG brand.”

Inspired by a social mission

Having launched the business in August 2020 with co-founder Lachlan Powell, Vanessa says the inspiration behind I Am Grounded came from years of the pair being involved in the coffee industry and seeing the waste left behind during coffee harvesting.

“As a Colombian who grew up in Australia, I wanted to see how we could combat the issue of food waste by commercialising the fruit of coffee,” says Vanessa.

“As coffee is one of the only fruits that is harvested for its seeds, and not its pulp or skin, on a global scale we waste roughly 20 billion kilos of coffee fruit when we harvest the seeds for brewing. This waste is often left untreated and causes environmental problems for coffee communities.

“Seeing a way to upcycle the by-product of coffee and unlock the antioxidants, natural energy and fibre of the fruit, we created I Am Grounded where we utilise upcycled functional ingredients for sustainable healthy snacking.”

At the expo the business showcased their first line of Coffee Fruit Bars – The Pick Me Up Espresso, Tahini and Coffee fruit; The 9am Lemon, Coconut and Coffee fruit ; The 3pm Cocoa, Almond Butter and Coffee fruit; as well as a line of snacking clusters – Choc Protein and Banana Coconut.

“We received great comments and feedback from retailers, naturopaths, industry experts and manufacturers. I always get so excited when people try our products for the first time as they are genuinely surprised that the coffee fruit does not taste like coffee – it is actually more akin to berries, tart tastes and honey flavours.”

Finding success as first time exhibitors

Since launching, apart from their own online store, I Am Grounded are now in a growing number of independent retailers including selected IGAs, Whole Health stores, Healthylife online and Go Vita. “We’re very focused on our direct-to-consumers and building strong relationships with key distributors who believe in our social mission,” Vanessa says.

All in all, Vanessa feels that attending a trade show such as Naturally Good is invaluable for businesses – particularly if they are showcasing for the first time.

“The network of industry experts and mentors attending is outstanding. We are lucky to be in a country that is so supportive of small businesses and wants to see them thrive. Attending for the first time gave us a good idea of positioning in the B2B landscape, and knowledge we would have missed out on had we not attended. The business we did at the expo has helped set us up for the future success of our brand.”

Interested in applying to the Naturally Good Pitch Fest in 2022? Find out more information and submit your application here. 

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