Award highlights health condition affecting 1 million Australians
Bernadette Eriksen’s business Flavour Creations has been researching and developing texture-modified food and drink products for people suffering with dysphagia since 1997.
Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty or discomfort when swallowing and it affects over one million Australians. With one in 17 people expected to develop some form of dysphagia in their lifetime, Eriksen has attempted to improve the quality of life for sufferers. She has done this by creating products such as pre-thickened drinks and the Dysphagia Cup, which allows people to feed themselves independently, restoring dignity and independence.
Her multimillion-dollar company currently employs over 100 staff and recently upscaled its warehousing facility to cope with demand. Her efforts were celebrated recently when she won the Greater Brisbane Woman in Business of the Year Award 2017.
Executive Director and Founder of the Women in Business Awards of Australia Karen Phillips praised Eriksen’s success in the male-dominated world of manufacturing.
“Bernadette exhibits extraordinary leadership, fierce determination and enormous ambition to lead and revolutionise this industry sector,” Phillips said.
Erikson suggested that she hopes the award will help raise awareness of this little-known health condition. While it is commonly assumed to be a condition affecting predominantly older generations, she emphasises its wide-reaching effects on the broader community.
“This award win provides the platform to catapult dysphagia into the public arena,” said Eriksen. “Babies born prematurely, children, teenagers and adults living with a disease or injury can all suffer from dysphagia. It is in dire need of a public profile. Just as people with hearing aids were once marginalised, my customers are now. Education and awareness is key and this prestigious award gives me the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the condition.”
While it was traditionally known for assisting those suffering from dysphagia, Flavour Creations is also expanding its product range to help those with other dietary and nutrition needs.
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