As a team of foodies, it's hard for us to choose a favorite meal of the day. But breakfast holds a special place in our hearts. Could you believe breakfast can be tasty and actually made with clean ingredients—but still feel indulgent?
Enter LusOasis! Founded by Huan Xia, LusOasis is a line of keto-friendly, gluten-free, vegan baking mixes. With a background in food science, Huan and her team have made these delicious multipurpose baking mixes that are not only good for you, but taste incredible. Don't just take our word for it—learn more about Huan and LusOasis below.
Tell us about LusOasis—what inspired you to start your brand and build this?
Huan: Great question. And I love to talk about it. The name LusOasis has a lot of meaning I want to present through our food. So “lus” actually means "elucidate." So “LusOasis” means elucidate a healthy food, a path to a food oasis. We want it to shed a light, a path for people to find delicious and healthy food. This name was inspired by the Gobi Desert. It used to be a big oasis, like 1,000 years ago, but now this oasis has shrunk to about 10 percent of its original size.
So each time I visit there, I feel very sad about it, but fortunately people still know the way to go to this oasis, they can still go to see it. That's the meaning behind it. I want to really shed the light just to show people there is a way to get to those places if you want.
For the brand and for the product, what we want to deliver is something not only tasty and flavorful for your mouth, but that's also really good for your body, soul and mind. So that's the meaning, to satisfy people's bodies and minds together with the food we create.
Tell us a little bit more about your backstory. How did you get to where you are today? Have you always loved food and being in the kitchen?
Huan: Yeah, so I have a Masters and PhD in food science, and I started in the food industry in big food corporations, like Mars, McCain foods, and they're making millions and billions of products for people every year.
I was pretty happy, but recently I started a vegan diet for myself about five years ago, and I realized how it benefits me both mentally and physically. It brought much more clarity to me and much more happiness, as well. I really wanted to transfer this happiness to other people.
In the pandemic, I saw many people with chronic diseases suffering more from COVID. I felt it was time for me to do this. So startup journey actually started not long ago, at the end of 2020. I really want to create something healthy and tasty for both people's body and the mind to help them get to the place they want.
That's so fantastic. It just shows how much love you have for food and for others. So tell us more about your baking mixes. What makes them special? What makes them different than anything out there on the market?
Huan: As a food scientist by training, I really care about the benefits, the most important benefits we want to deliver to our consumers. We're looking at the food trends and what people want on the market today, and we really combined three benefits in one product line: keto-friendly, gluten-free and vegan.
Until LusOasis, there has not been this combination of the three on the market. We think we are the first to the market. Plus we add no sugar and no sweeteners into our product, which is very rare for any keto product. Many keto products actually add natural sweeteners like monk fruit and Stevia, but we don't use any of that. We only use whole foods to sweeten this product a little bit, like dates. We created four amazing flavors from the range of sweet, spicy, savory, and a combination of everything together. You cannot find this everywhere. We really want to make sure people can also indulge in this beyond breakfast, as well.
They can use the spicy waffle with chicken, like a Nashville, hot chicken waffle style, and they can make something sweet and savory, like peach cobbler. And they can have a mini chocolate waffle as a snack. The usage is very versatile and we are very proud of that. We want it to bring the healthy benefits to consumers, as well as a tasty indulgence as well.
What are your favorite recipes to make with your baking mixes?
Huan: There are a lot! I have a different favorite for each flavor. Chocolate is great as both a pancake and a waffle, you can put lots of fruits on there—that's many people's favorite, especially in the holiday season. It's very tasty. I love to do the spicy ones. I was inspired by a diabetic friend of mine who can do a little of the oatmeal—he likes to add cheese and a little jalapeño cheese onto that.
So that's how we do a little bit of a chili and spicy breakfast option for people. It can reduce their sugar intake and still enjoy a little kick and the savoriness.
How would you describe LusOasis as a brand and the community of people who are buying it?
Huan: We really wanted to promote to very health-conscious people. And I see a lot of people are like that. Many, many more people are like that after the pandemic because of the environmental stress, the health concerns, and because you couldn’t go out as often. Eating healthy is one of the easiest ways to make you become more healthy. That’s the community we are looking for.
The other community we want to support is very flavor-curious people. A lot of people want to try different flavors, especially in the pancake and waffle world. Some people are very uncomfortable with savory, but now savory breakfast is a trend because you help people diversify their palettes and reduce their sugar intake. So we want to encourage those flavor-curious people to join our community, to try out.
They don't have to be vegan. They don't have to be gluten-free. The flavor itself will make them excited.
What is special about Chicago and its food community? Why do you love this city?
Huan: I moved to this city because Chicago to me is a hub of the food industry in the U.S. I've been in this industry long enough to know there are more than 300 companies here in Chicago, and it’s unique because it's closest to a lot of agriculture and produce directly. This way, we can reduce food waste. We can enhance the efficiency of the supply chain, the logistics. That's why Chicago is very, very unique in this sense.
I think we need to promote much more food-tech, agriculture, and tech entrepreneurship in this area in Chicago, because we are closest to the ingredients. We are going to do the most sustainable business here.
What's next? Anything in the pipeline you can talk to us about in terms of products or next steps?
Huan: This is very, very exciting for us. In addition to the baking mixes, we are actually launching plant-based, whole-cut “beef” We are tackling this huge, white space in the industry of plant-based, whole-cut beef. Sixty percent of beef consumption is from whole-cut meat, which equates to 66 billion pounds of meat. We wanted to disrupt this area and wanted to grab this huge opportunity to offer that plant-based option to people. Our first product in this space will be Mongolian beef made from plant protein, and it does not contain GMO.
How can everyone follow you, besides on Here Here Market?