Cookbook king's wake-up
PETER Howard can recall the exact date and time he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
It was 3.25pm on December 23, 2004.
It sticks in his mind because it was the exact moment he had to completely change his life.
More than seven years on, the chef and multi-cookbook author has gone into the kitchen to help others watching their blood sugar levels by developing a line of pre-prepared frozen meals.
His new range, Made for You Foods, has been designed for anyone managing their blood sugar.
"I know first hand the challenge of adapting your lifestyle and diet after being diagnosed with diabetes," Mr Howard said.
"After being diagnosed I remembered going through my local supermarket and finding nothing there that I could be totally confident with food wise."
He went on to lose 20kg over two years in his new lifestyle.
His experience has been a key factor in developing these meals.
"Our research showed that people who had diabetes wanted something especially made for them," he said.
"We've done that by getting our own nutritional panel together. We've looked at what diabetics should and shouldn't eat and we've come up with our own nutritional guidelines endorsed by the Australian Diabetes Council."
The new company launched with five products - vegetable lasagne, beef lasagne, pizza, a red beef curry and a green chicken curry.
They are all low GI, low fat, lower in salt and carbohydrate controlled and are sold exclusively in Woolworths supermarkets.
The company involves Mr Howard, Foodbank NSW CEO Gerry Andersen and food industry stalwarts Patricia Andersen and Ian Cox.
The major investor was the Brice family, including Andrew Brice, well known philanthropist and co-founder of online travel site Wotif.com.
Mr Howard worked closely with accredited dieticians to ensure the meals would deliver on taste, while also meeting strict nutritional criteria developed specifically for people managing their blood sugar levels.
They have also launched the D-tick - a new food approval system similar to the Heart Foundation's Tick instead it meets the nutritional guidelines approved by the Australian Diabetes Council.
Mr Howard hopes to expand to a portfolio of more than 50 products in the next five years.
The company also aims to become a significant private financial supporter of diabetes research.