NATURAL EVOLUTION FOUNDERS ROB AND KRISTA WATKINS ARE THE WORLD’S FIRST AND ONLY CERTIFIED PRODUCER OF GREEN BANANA RESISTANT STARCH AND GREEN BANANA FLOUR.
Recently the innovative brand shared their story to over 5000,000 viewers on Channel Ten’s popular program – The Project.
Despite this achievement they have retained their humbleness, working countless hours and tapping into their true passion for ultimate nutrition to keep innovating.
Where did such a fruitful, entrepreneurial business idea begin?
As a child, Rob grew watching his father pour all he had into their banana farm. Inspired by his fathers’ love for farming, Rob followed his footsteps and became one of Australia’s largest banana growers, specialising in lady fingers.
Rob has always been passionate about farming philosophy, believing that ultimate nutrition starts from the soil in which a plant is grown. So you can imagine his disappointment week after week, disposing hundreds of tonnes of perfectly nutritious and good for eating beautiful lady fingers – all because the bananas simply had the wrong ‘look’ for the shelves.
Every week, he watched as wallabies flocked and cattle broke fences, just to get to the ‘wasted’ bananas.
What interested Rob most was the way the animals always filled themselves with the discarded green bananas and left the ripened bananas untouched. He also noticed the increase in health the animals were experiencing – their coats were shinier and they appeared to have an abundance of energy.
What did the animals know that he did not? These green bananas were destined for something so much bigger then wallaby scraps.
The moment that changed everything was at dusk, one summer day in 2010. Rob had accidentally driven over a hand of lady fingers which crushed against the bitumen and created a dust in the sun’s glowing rays.
Already an eager inventor, developing breakthrough creations like a new field of invention machinery and the Banana Blankey (a fully recyclable packaging system), Rob was intrigued by this ‘banana dust’. His inquisitive nature questioned, could this be flour?
He found that not only could it be flour, but it was gluten free flour and one of the world’s highest resistant starch food sources.
Suffering from coeliac symptoms himself, Rob made a small 6kg batch of banana flour to use and sell in the family café. In a matter of weeks, the demand was greatly surpassing his supply; in fact he was months behind in requests. The market loved it!
This demand inspired Rob to refine the process of production. So back to his entrepreneurial ways, he invented the first and only peeling machine in the world, speeding up the process and drastically increasing output to approximately 300kg per week.
With demand still going bananas for their product, the Watkins secured a grant in August 2014 and built yet another world first – a pharmaceutical grade banana
They now have the facilities to produce eight tonnes of banana flour each week and have since continued to create more innovative green banana products.
In fact, the Department of Fisheries in Queensland has just released a very exciting study on the Natural Evolution range of products, analysing the phytochemical composition and anti-microbial activity. You can read the results here.
Take a look at the ever expanding Natural Evolution banana flour, starch, smoothie mixes and ointment on their website.