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Gael & Blanche Kennedy

Ideas Program 4

28 Feb 2021

Gael & Blanche Kennedy


Gael Kennedy and her daughter Blanche, are organic truffle farmers from Harolds Cross, NSW. It is a family run business growing and harvesting black truffles since 2010.

​Gael and her family are boutique growers of high quality, certified organic and biodynamic black truffles which are sold in many of the top restaurants across Australia. They have been in production for 6 years and their business brand is ‘Elvesgate’.

The idea

Gael identified a challenge with the farming of black truffles with 40-50% of the fresh produce not meeting the highest level grading. Much of this truffle is still very good quality in terms of aroma wise but may have imperfections. Therefore, Gael applied to the program to explore the opportunity of creating premium, value-added products such as freeze dried truffle powder in order to overcome this problem and explore new business models to make us of these ‘secondary’ truffles.

Using the lean startup methodology and specific tools such as the lean canvas and customer value proposition map delivered in the program, Gael and Blanche were able to identify the opportunity to create a range of products for different consumer segments that would offer different benefits. For example, the freeze dried truffle powder could be positioned to a second tier of hospitality businesses who were looking to use unique ingredients that had up until now not been possible. Similarly, by undertaking over 20 interviews the team identified an opportunity to market a functional beverage that took advantage of umami flavours alongside known ingredients such as cacao and delivered specific health benefits to a female consumer who was looking for natural, premium, fortified options to overcome a variety of ailments and pain points.

During the second half of the program, Gael and Blanche have created a new landing page to test the desirability of these options and plan to run a variety of purchase tests trialling different value propositions with their consumer segments.

To check if it is actually desirable... To really look carefully at who our customers are and if there's enough pain/motivation to open their purse to buy our product. To really understand this emotionally, and deeply. To refocus from the idea of the product itself to point our attention to the pain and gain points of our potential customers.

Whats next

Farmers2Founders has helped the team to build a clear 3-6 month business plan following the program which includes specific goals:

*Undertake 4 cycles of purchase tests using Instagram advertising with a number of different segments

*Engage a food science lab to undertake nutritional, bioavailability of nutrients and microbiological testing of both fresh and freeze dried truffles

*Small batch trials with a co-manufacturer to produce freeze dried options

*Develop a detailed value chain map to determine how to scale the business model

Program Partners

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