Four years ago, Lisa Fischer stood in the cereal aisle of her local supermarket and found herself completely dissatisfied with the range of choices. Passionate about healthy eating, she couldn’t seem to find a muesli brand that offered exactly what she wanted: crunch, flavour, high in fibre, and low in sugar and preservatives.
Undeterred, Lisa set out to make her own muesli. She sourced local ingredients and incorporated all her favourite fruits and nuts. In awe of the quality and freshness, Lisa’s husband asked if she could make his favourite too (toasted muesli). Lisa realised that if the demand for quality, custom-made muesli was this high in her house alone, surely it was needed in other households in Canberra!
Determined to provide a solution, the couple began making muesli from locally-sourced fresh ingredients and selling it at the EPIC Farmers’ Market. Word spread, and before long they had orders from IGA, Ziggys, cafes and other specialty stores around Canberra. Finding it hard to keep up with the orders using for-rent commercial kitchens, the couple found a shop in Fyshwick and built a commercial kitchen into it, then opened The Muesli Bar.
The Muesli Bar now provides made-to-order muesli, catering to muesli-lovers of all kinds: diabetics, paleo, gluten-free, toasted, un-toasted, and even fussy kids. Their product range also includes fresh trail mixes, Jasper and Myrtle chocolates, Canberra Urban Honey, and organic teas for pregnancy.
“I never would have envisaged we would end up here,” Lisa laughs. “But the business was born out of need…there just aren’t enough truly healthy options available in the supermarkets. They’re either loaded with sugar or packed with preservatives. And if you love muesli, and care about health, it can be really time-consuming and costly to try and find a brand that meets your needs.”
Lisa, who is now on maternity leave, oversees two staff members who manage the shop from Tuesdays to Saturdays. Her husband Rowly can be found at their permanent stand at the Farmers’ Market every weekend.
“When you come to the shop, you put together your muesli order kind of like you would order a pizza,” says Lisa. “You choose your base – oats, toasted, un-toasted, gluten-free, etc – then you add the fruits and nuts you like the most. If you’re after a specific quality, like high fibre, we can create that too.
“It’s about making it completely custom for everyone – so they can enjoy a breakfast they really want to eat, and it’s healthy. We don’t add preservatives, oil or sugar. Every muesli mix stays fresh for at least five months, but we generally find our customers come back a lot sooner than that!”
The Muesli Bar sources as many ingredients from local suppliers as possible, and keeps profits low so their products can compete with supermarket prices.
“It’s possible we’ll grow from where we are. But really, I just want to offer a great product at a really good price. Customer service is everything to us, and we pride ourselves on taking care of our customers and meeting their needs.”
The Muesli Bar is open from Tuesday to Friday 9:30am to 3:00pm, and Saturday from 10am to 1pm, at 5/64 Wollongong Street in Fyshwick.
You can also find The Muesli Bar products at the EPIC Farmers’ Markets on Saturdays from 7am to 11:30am.