At Fresh Choice Nelson, we’ve supported some of the region’s favourite food brands and companies from their early start-up days, and by shopping with us, you have too. Over the next few months, we’re going to celebrate some of our local food heroes. Each month we’ll pick one local supplier and share their story with you. We want to inspire you to taste their fabulous products, so we’ll also bring you some special in-store deals. We’re starting the series at the beginning… Seems like the right place. Roland Dallas is the founder of Dovedale bread; he was also one of the very first local suppliers whose products graced our shelves.
When Roland met Mark:
In 1991 the C & C Music Factory were riding high in the charts with ‘Things that make you go Hmmm.’ But it was also the year that Roland introduced us to his organic gourmet bread… And that certainly made us go Mmmm! At the time Roland’s bread went by the name of Dallas Bread. He’d established a wholesale bakery in Sydney and returning to New Zealand he set about replicating the business formula.
In 1991, the concept of organics was still in its infancy, but Mark knew it was something there was a growing demand for and was very happy to stock Dallas Bread.
Roland is the first to admit that growing the brand in NZ was a steep learning curve. Dealing with supermarket demand was very different from dealing with the Sydney deli and corner store model he was used to. He needed better packaging and shelf life, and to compete with the big players, he needed a point of difference. At the time, gluten-free, like organics, was an emerging market, and it was a market that Roland chose to embrace. In 1996 Dallas Bread was sold, making way for Dovedale Bread (named after the Dovedale valley where Roland’s home was). The brand launched with one gluten-free product, rice bread.
In time, Dovedale became the first NZ bakery to market a gluten-free bread nationwide, and at Fresh Choice Nelson we feel incredibly proud to have supported Roland on that journey. But more importantly, we love that we’re still on that journey. Dovedale remains a best-selling local brand for us, and Roland is consistently adding to his range so we can bring you new products.
An Interview with Roland:
We caught up with Roland to find out a bit more about the challenges he’s faced and the success of his business. Read on to discover more.
Q: What has been your greatest success in business?
A: There are a lot of highlights. But as we know, in the absence of a filthy rich family trust or Lordship behind me and the general tenuous nature of business itself, that old Bee Gees theme song of ‘Staying Alive’ comes to mind. We’re all works in progress, and I feel fortunate that even though I sometimes still get it wrong, I’m doing all right.
Q: What continues to inspire you in business?
A: Inspiration comes from trying to keep up with the ever-changing trends in gluten-free. A few years ago it was Paleo Breads, and now it’s Keto. I’ve had to learn as I go, coming up with new recipes. Keto has been a challenge, with a constant struggle to source ingredients and often a huge difference in performance with the same ingredient, sourced from different companies. I also draw daily inspiration from my wife and two lovely daughters (ages five and one).
Q: What’s your personal favourite Dovedale product, and how do you enjoy eating it?
A: My favourite Dovedale product is always my latest at the time. Right now it’s Keto Firecrackers. Lots of seedy goodness, Parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper – hence the FIRE. They’re great with any soft cheese, dips or avocado. They also go down well with a wine or beer.
Q: Why do you think local collaboration is important in business?
A: Local collaboration is always important in business. Nelson has done well to identify itself as a boutique food producer hub, and it’s the networking between diverse businesses that have helped make that happen. Pic’s Peanut Butter and their initiative to set up a test kitchen for aspiring food producers is a great example of local collaboration.
Q: Why do you think ‘eating local’ is important?
A: Mark has always been a great champion of eating local (within 200km). From a sustainability viewpoint, it is common sense with low food miles, but it also celebrates what an impressive cornucopia we are blessed with in our backyard. The Nelson Saturday Market is an excellent showcase of what is out there. Supporting small business by eating local can make a difference in keeping those businesses alive.
Q: What would your #1 piece of advice be for any foodie entrepreneurs starting in business?
A: My #1 piece of advice for fledgeling Foodies? I’m assuming you’ve got an amazingly innovative product & a passion to match so make sure your cash flow is double of what you think you need!
The Dovedale Deals:
For the month of October, visit us in-store (or shop online) to take advantage of our Keto Dovedale deals.