It's not easy to find gluten-free food, but now you can, at Ryan’s Grocery.
Owned by local couple Ms Wendy Foo and Mr Sebastian Chia, this gluten-free grocery and organic butchery is named after their son Ryan, who is nine.
It was an alarming discovery about her son that led her to open Ryan’s Grocery.
When Ryan was about three years old, the couple found out after running medical tests that his body was intolerant to dairy, gluten, nuts, soy, eggs, yeast and certain types of fruits and vegetables.
Some food items he cannot eat include broccoli, cucumber, kiwi fruit and watermelon – food items that Ms Foo did not expect he would have to avoid.
“We were shocked and felt quite lost at first,” she recalls.
The couple began making trips to Australia to source for suitable produce for Ryan. Over three years from 2010, they visited farms and farmers’ markets there to find out more about the producers and their products.
Ms Foo began talking to the farmers about exporting their items here.
Ryan’s Grocery was launched in July 2015. The retail store in Binjai Park is a one-stop shop for anyone looking for allergen- and preservative-free food, and includes a selection of organic, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat sourced from farms in Australia.
The couple also launched Alternative Selection – a wholesaler and retailer of alternative gourmet products – last year.
Response to Alternative Selection has been good. It now supplies to more than 100 cafes, restaurants and hotels in Singapore.
The company employs close to 40 staff, but the business has not broken even yet, because of the expansions over the past two years.
Ms Foo says she hopes it will be able to do so by the end of this year. In the works are plans to supply meat to major supermarket chains here.
“People here increasingly want to eat well and want to know where their food is coming from. We want to give people that access to quality produce,” she says.
A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times
(Photos: The Straits Times)