High on superfoodsPosted: April 3, 2012
When was the last time you were given the opportunity to order pink quinoa off a menu?
Hmmm…didn’t think so.
South Africans generally aren’t exposed to a wide variety of foods in restaurants that cater to the forward-thinking, health-conscious consumer. Yes, we have so-called “wellness” stores that sell your favourite brand of organic rice flour, but in a time where our relationship with food is as distorted as it is (think calorie counter apps on iPhones, pressure from the media to look skeletal, and the restaurant industry’s hankering for expendably large portions), It’s good to know there’s a brand that aims at feeding people healthy, wholesome food.
Enter: Osumo (Portuguese for the word “juice”).
You’ve heard of them. With stores in Canal Walk, Cavendish Connect and Sea Point, it’s possible you might’ve stopped in for a cold smoothie, or a take-away wrap. With its clean blue and green colour scheme and fresh interior, it’s just one of those places that lures one in. I love their offering and have been an avid fan of the Peanut Butter Boost smoothie for… well, a long time! Those of you who’ve tasted it will know what I’m talking about!
The point of this post though, is to share some exciting news…
They’ve just recently just launched a new superfoods menu, which let me tell you- is just plain amazing! I was lucky enough to try it out the other day and have a chat with Megan Hussey, the brains behind the brand. This vibrant and dynamic businesswoman is an incredible inspiration. She’s just so down-to-earth and filled with nothing but overflowing passion for her successful company.
She opened the first store in Canal Walk in 2006, offering people an alternative to the grease-furnished, artery-clogging fast food establishments. (I actually remember ordering my first peanut butter boost there!)
All the recipes that Osumo uses today were developed by Megan herself and are ones she’s been using for years. ‘It has to be like you’ve made it at home’, she says.
Not everyone has the luxury of sitting down to a well-balanced meal every single day and with the fast-paced lives that we all lead, Osumo gives people a chance to eat what they would normally have at home. Think lots of fresh vegetables, deliciously filled sandwiches and wraps, healthy breakfast options like oats, fruit, eggs, nuts, berries…you name it!
The new menu includes superfoods like goji berries, spirulina, cacao, hemp and chia seeds- all high potency ingredients, providing complete nourishment. Why the inclusion of superfoods, you may ask.
Well, Megan says it’s all about the basics. ‘It’s about functional foods and boosters that are as close to their source as possible’.
It’s no longer good enough to offer customers potions and powders that claim to be filled with vitamins and nutrients. You have to provide them with the real thing. You want real Vitamin C? Try a real orange! It’s that simple.
Megan says she asked herself, ‘What can we do that nobody else is doing?’ As a company, one of the brand principles has always been to keep on trend and up to date with what’s happening in the health food industry. Where else can you find such a wide range of superfoods as part of any “normal” menu item?
Osumo’s clientele know what they’re there to buy. They’re informed and knowledgeable. So Megan is adamant that all products are of the highest quality. “Whatever product we have to offer is the best there is to offer”, she says.
One would think that Osumo’s biggest competitor is Kauai. Not true. Their biggest competitor is in fact Woolworths. She says that “if Woolworths has it, we have it”. Quite a large statement to make but just shows how much confidence there is in offering only the best.
All menu items have been approved by a registered dietician and one will notice that none of the dishes include garlic, chilli or overpowering spices- which are often used to mask the actual flavour of the food.
Apart from the passion and ambition to succeed, Megan believes that staying true to her brand principles when things have tempted her to sway has been an enormous strength. ‘It’s helped us to stay open’, she says.
People assume that because you have a few successful stores, franchising is the next step.
‘It always looks so glamorous’, she says. With plans to grow and expand the business, Megan and her partner Kelly, are adamant that it’ll happen when the time is right. They oversee each one of their stores every single day and can often be seen taking orders behind the counter and greeting customers by name. In fact, even their cell phone numbers and email addresses are posted up in stores- allowing customers to give valuable feedback.
‘The best marketing you can do is a consistent product’, Megan emphasises. And even though the lure to franchise is there, she says she’d like all the Osumo stores to remain company owned and run. It seems a winning formula has been found.
Back to the menu though!
I started off with a fresh “energizer” juice which was a healthy blend of carrot, beetroot, apple, lemon and ginger. Holy moly, was it delicious!! While perusing the rest of the menu, I saw that there was an easy-to-use key that symbolised whether a dish was high protein, fat-free, vegetarian or a superfood item. I think this idea works fantastically.
There’s also a special new “Super kids” section which includes things like peanut butter soldiers, cheesy noodles, and toasty’s with a choice of 4 wholesome and low-fat fillings, offered as a wrap or a sandwich.
To eat, I went for a hearty breakfast of cooked jungle oats with banana, flaked almonds, cinnamon, low fat milk and honey. This came with the option to add whey or hemp powder for an extra protein boost.
Now what would Osumo be without its signature sticky plum sauce??!
Megan knows how popular this is and has included it in a chicken, feta and avo stir-fry with wheat-free rice noodles. Does that tickle your salivary glands or what?!
If you’re just looking for a snack or something to refuel you after a hectic gym session, then you simply must try an ice cold smoothie- I had my eye on the Chocolate Frost with frozen yoghurt and NoMu sugar-free chocolate powder. And if you’re lactose intolerant, you needn’t worry because there’s a completely separate dairy-free selection too! I liked the sound of the new Luscious Lemon which is a concoction of lemon, strawberry, fresh mint and apple juice.
I could go on and on about all the deliciousness but really, you have to try it for yourself.
Trust me, healthy never looked this good!