A Q&A with Kate Weiss, the founder of Table of Plenty

written by Kate Duncan

Kate Weiss

Credit: Kate Weiss

What inspired you to begin Table of Plenty?

Tal and I were, and are still, motivated by a desire to explore the full potential of human life, so we aim to lead an exceptional life and not to settle for the ordinary.

This philosophy was particularly challenged when our daughter was born with a rare genetic disorder and intellectual disability. We refused to become victims of “why” it happened to us; we wanted to become contributors to, not victims of, our circumstances. We also needed to think practically about Amy’s future. Table of Plenty was a deliberate attempt to offer real nourishment to the Australian people via healthy food, while at the same time making a difference in the community and working for something greater than ourselves. For us, this means providing work for people with disabilities and exposing more people to a positive outlook on life, regardless of the challenges that come your way.

Has your initial vision stayed the same or changed over time?

Our vision has stayed the same since day one. We aim to:

Where do you find the inspiration for your products?

First, we derive inspiration from providing service to the Australian people. There is nothing better than knowing that what we have created is making a difference to other Australian families.

I come from a wholefood background and was brought up on a balanced and mostly unprocessed diet, so my inspiration is to stay true to those roots. As a small family company, we also engage constantly in study and research into nutrition, health and wellbeing and trends. If we identify an important trend like probiotics, we’ll think how we can provide those benefits to our customers. It’s a combination of being genuinely interested in food, nutrition, flavours and ingredients, having our roots in whole foods and seeing ourselves as being in service to the Australian people.

How does Table of Plenty help busy mums and dads? 

We create food for the entire family — food you can trust from one mother to another. Our vision is to help mums and dads feed their family nutritious and delicious food easily. We cater for different diets and special needs, like gluten-free, fructose malabsorption, vegans and vegetarians, lower sugar, no added sugar products and “better for you” snack options for the entire family. These are things that most mums and dads face when thinking about food.

I believe in the democratisation of good food — making it available at our major supermarkets, rather than tucked away on some dusty shelf in a niche store. Everyone has the right to eat healthy food.

In the beginning, what were some of your biggest challenges? 

When you are starting something new, there are many challenges. In our case the main challenge was that we had no industry experience. We didn’t know how big supermarkets worked and at first were idealistic and not very commercially orientated. We made many mistakes, but fortunately none too drastic to take us out of the game.

The second big challenge is that we worked for years without an income, not knowing if what we set out to do would ever come to anything, and putting everything we had at risk — our house and our savings. We had to believe in what we were doing to give us enough strength to recover from our mistakes, to learn and to keep going.

 What has been the most rewarding so far? 

Three things stand out to me:

  1. The letters and feedback we get from our customers. It makes it all worthwhile when we get amazing, and sometimes quite moving, feedback.
  2. The people with special needs who have been working with us for more than 10 years.
  3. Knowing that it is possible to turn things around; to turn adversity into opportunity.

How does Table of Plenty care for our environment?

Caring for the environment is important and we consider it in all our decisions. There are many things to take into account. Wherever possible, we use recyclable materials, even when it is not ideal from a costing perspective. We source Australian ingredients where possible, too, and minimise the use of paper in the office.

What are your top three parenting tips?

  1. Have a mental image of your child. The image is about what their ultimate character and qualities can be, their highest potential. As they grow, hold it in your mind for them.
  2. You are first a parent and a leader, but don’t neglect your own life — that is not good parenting. We are here to grow and develop and our kids are watching us.
  3. Practise forgiveness — we are not perfect.

What are your top three wellness tips?

  1. Every day, ask yourself why you do what you do. Focusing on these reasons and updating them is an essential daily practice.
  2. Eat close to nature and avoid highly processed food.
  3. Develop fitness in the following areas:
    • Physical (three main levels: strength, flexibility and aerobic)
    • Emotional/Psychological: Balancing and managing your states
    • Mental: Always engage in study and learning new things — never settle and always be curious
    • Soul: Find and stay close to your Point of Plenty
    • Spiritual: Work and contribute to things outside of yourself

What’s next for you and the Table of Plenty brand?

To continue to grow Table of Plenty to reach as many families that care about their health as we can. To develop products that are in line with the latest research and findings regarding health, like new emerging science about the vital role of gut health. Products like kefir and probiotics are of interest to us. As for myself and Tal, our next main focus is sharing with our customers the holistic Life of Plenty mindset that is a motivation behind the Table of Plenty brand. We are also aiming to continue working with carers and the disability community.

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Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan loves raw desserts, yoga and the outdoors. She’s also the Assistant Editor of WellBeing and Deputy Editor of EatWell.