The Food Designer

By Seth Robinson

An overseas exchange while she was studying her Bachelor of Commerce set Linda Monique on the path to a career thinking about life’s essentials in a way few people do. Now, she’s founded multiple businesses, and her current project, Almo Milk, is at the beginning of a global expansion

Food is something that we all know and love, but there are few people who speak about food as passionately – or who understand it as deeply – as Linda Monique.

“It’s actually my pure passion and joy, and now I would say I’ve probably made a life commitment to the food and beverage industry. I’m now looking at areas like food security, food safety and food design.”

The latter, food design, is a concept Linda discovered while she was completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Melbourne.

“There were two experiences in that time that cemented what it is I do today. The first, was going on exchange to SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan. They have a major focus on design within the business school, which was significant for me because I had a lot of untapped creativity and curiosity. I started exploring concepts of food and design, whatever you might consider food design to be, looking at how civilisations and individuals have interacted with food, how we create food, how we market food. It was interesting experiencing all of this in Italy, where there are strong cultural traditions of food. It made me realise there were things in Australia that we hadn’t addressed yet, and that there were pressing food issues we’d need to look at into the future, such as wastage, sustainability and health.” says Linda.

Linda Monique
Linda Monique.

“That was a real eye-opener for me. I continued to write a blog, The Food Designer, through my studies. Then in my final year I took part in the university case consulting competition, which was an incredible experience. It gave me a brilliant analytical mindset when it came to looking at a business and thinking about what I’d need to do to make my own ideas successful. Those two experiences brought my passion and curiosity and that business mindset together.”

Following her graduation, Linda spent time travelling and working in Europe, as a Food Design Lecturer and Consultant, collaborating with companies to create new initiatives and strategies around things like food waste.

“That time made me realise that there are lots of opportunities in that area. Most of the time companies don’t know what they could be doing in the space, whether it’s raising awareness, or creating strategies they can implement in the business.”

Linda’s most recent project is an opportunity that has blossomed. Almo Milk is a Melbourne based Almond Milk company that focuses on delivering a high quality, Australian product. As a result, they’ve found themselves competing against giants like Coca-Cola and Sanitarium.

“Competition in Australia is increasing, where it used to be predominantly Australian players. Now, there’s a Swedish milk company, and our most direct competition from the US was just bought by Coca-Cola, so we’re up against billion-dollar market players. But there will always be a space for premium Australian products. That’s what our customers value most, and what they recognise.”

Now, Almo Milk are considering what’s next in the evolution of the company.

“At the moment, we’ve made a strategic decision to focus on Australia and Asia, but in the next twelve months we’ll look at finding partnerships in Europe. We’re also launching four new flavours of milk, three of which everyone will find delicious, and the fourth – my favourite – which is quite different,” she laughs. “We’re also looking at a fifth product, which would be the most sustainable way of making almond milk in the world. It’s removing water and pathogens completely, giving customers the option to make their own milk at home. Innovation is always a big part of what we do, whether it’s in the process or the products we create. The market is changing rapidly, and we want to evolve with that.”