It almost seems impossible to develop new ideas in the highly competitive dieting and healthy eating market. However, the founder of Locako, Ally Mellor, regularly defies these odds, introducing Australia to new keto products since 2017.
Ally Mellor was one of the pioneers who educated Australia on the possibilities of a low carb keto diet when little was known about the trend. Now she leads a trusted and constantly expanding business with a range of keto products, from collagen coffee creamer to snack bars.
Locako continues to make significant strides in the market, recently launching TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) approved keto vitamins Keto Support and Keto Essential onto Woolworths shelves.
Mellor aims to produce clean and nutritious low carb keto foods “for anyone wanting to enjoy the health benefits of a keto diet or low carb lifestyle”.
In her early twenties, Mellor decided she needed to change her eating habits after reflecting on her unhealthy relationship with food and how it impacted her body.
“I’d eat something that made me feel heavy and lethargic and wouldn’t eat anything else for the rest of the day because I hated feeling that way,” she says, “I didn’t realise it at the time, but my dislike of so many foods was likely the early stages of an eating disorder.”
Ally Mellor discovered the keto diet by accident. She listened to her body’s needs and experimented with her foods while cutting out sugars and carbs.
“Over the next few years, I honed in on what I should and shouldn’t be eating and started fixing my diet to contain more nutritious food that made me feel good. I didn’t know my diet had a name; I just knew it was what felt right for my body.
“Eating nutritious meals that are high in good, clean fats, and low in carbs and sugar allow me to function at my best, feel good, and maintain consistent energy levels.”
It was not until Mellor went to America that she discovered her practices fell under the keto diet and had extensive research on its benefits. She started to learn from the keto products she found in the States and experiment with substituting different foods.
“I brought so many keto products home, and when I couldn’t find anything like it in Australian shops, I decided to make my own,” Mellor said.
Introducing Locako to Australia
When Mellor introduced Locako’s collagen coffee creamer and snack bars into Australian stores, little was known about keto and the diet. Being the only products of their kind on shelves, Mellor worked hard to educate and make the items attractive to Australian consumers.
“When I first started Locako in Australia I got a lot of knockbacks from retailers who said keto was a fad diet and unhealthy,” Mellor said.
However, by 2020, keto became the number one searched diet on Google, and since launching her business, she has seen growth of 400 per cent per year.
“Only two years ago, no one in the UK wanted to know about low carb, keto or collagen snacks. Now all of a sudden, everything is keto.”
With the growing interest in keto diets, Locako has appeased the community’s desire for new products with a wide range of items.
Mellor is constantly finding ways to improve Locako by experimenting with innovative ways to introduce keto-friendly products that will be attractive to Australian consumers.
Beginning with finding a way to put a homegrown stamp on her products. Mellor looked at incorporating native Australian ingredients in products. Now finger limes, Davidson plums and Kakadu plums are central ingredients in Locako’s beauty bar and powders.
Using native ingredients benefits the products and creates work opportunities for indigenous people, including the women of Wadeye in the Northern Territory.
Mellor is not afraid to take risks, “I’ve taken 50 risks launching 50 products, but it created 50 new opportunities.”
Locako’s new keto vitamins project is also the first of its kind. The vitamins aim to support the body and help the transition into the diet.
“Going keto is a big change that requires a lot of support. Our TGA-approved keto vitamins are designed to assist with some of the bigger transitions from easing sugar cravings to maintaining good digestion and gut health and improving metabolism. To burn fat more easily.”
Getting Therapeutic Goods Administration approval
One of Mellor’s most significant challenges and accomplishments was being the first TGA approved keto vitamins supplier. TGA approval is central to showing the safety and efficacy of the supplements. However, Mellor says it can be difficult to stay within what the TGA allows.
“From a manufacturing point of view, we had to go and find a whole new supply chain and manufacturer, and one that was TGA approved,” Mellor says.
The whole process was a considerable investment in time, money and resources for the brand.
“It is a long process, but it’s absolutely worth it for our customers to know that the vitamins are safe, effective, and of the highest quality,” Mellor said. “We are so happy now to be able to provide the complete keto solution and we are excited to appeal to a whole new market.”
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