After closing her I Quit Sugar business, Sarah Wilson is battling what she claims are very similar products made by her former manufacturer.
The entrepreneur and author told Fairfax Media she was "extremely frustrated" to discover Future Generation Foods launched a supermarket range branded at "No Added Sugar" a few months ago.
Future Generation Foods partnered with Ms Wilson on her I Quit Sugar range of products but the partnership ended in September 2017 after Future Generation Foods told her the products were unprofitable and not working in the market.
Ms Wilson's anti-sugar message helped her top Australia's book selling lists and build an I Quit Sugar empire that employed 20 people and turned over $4 million a year.
But she closed her business in February saying that she felt her work in the area was done.
No Added Sugar range launches
Ms Wilson said she was shocked and upset when customers started contacting her about the No Added Sugar range.
"It kind of came as quite a big surprise as I couldn't quite believe there could be something so blatant," she says.
"It was very, very confusing as I knew nothing about it and I was getting complaints from customers genuinely confused thinking it was a repackaging."
Ms Wilson says the No Added Sugar range has a lot of similarities to the I Quit Sugar range.
"The ingredient lists are the same and the raw products like the rice malt syrup one could say it is identical," she says. "That was quite unique to my platform and the education I did about it."
Ms Wilson says she contacted Future Generation Foods which has denied the products are the same.
"I am powerless to find out what the circumstances are unless I take legal action and that's just not my style," she says. "People are saying I should get lawyers involved and I should sue them but I have better things to do."
Ms Wilson published a post on her website on Monday entitled, Hey, what’s the deal with the No Added Sugar range?, raising her concerns with the products.
"I had to tell the community as I don't have a customer service team, I have been left with the issue," she says. "People associate it with me and I am now implicated."
Closing I Quit Sugar
After closing I Quit Sugar Wilson sold the recipes from the business to Sam Wood's 28 by Sam Wood program for an undisclosed amount.
Wilson says she has given all the profit from I Quit Sugar to charity but the amount is "still emerging".
"All my work now goes to a philanthropic trust I have built," she says. "I closed the business for very specific reasons and it was to do with my values and putting my energy towards other things. This drags me back to all the stuff I conciously made a decision to move on from."
Ms Wilson says she received no money from Future Generation Foods for the I Quit Sugar range in two years.
"My hands were tied, I still don't know why it happened," she says.
"I was told the products were not a hit in the marketplace and they didn't make money but an almost identical range emerged a few months later by the same people. I was left quite mystified."
Future Generation Foods is owned by husband and wife Matthew and Joanne Bailey.
The couple operate the business through holding company Bailey Brothers Pty Ltd which has offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Hong Kong.
Mr Bailey lists his job title on LinkedIn as a “disruptive innovator”. He was previously the chief executive of family business The Bailey Group which was Australia's largest outsourced sales and merchandising business and of advertising and public relations agency the Photon Group.
Photon Group raised over $100 million in 2010 with its stocks soaring to $1.02 in June then plunging to 9¢.
Mr Bailey was replaced as chief executive and the business became Enero in 2012.
Fairfax Media contacted Mr and Mrs Bailey for comment but did not receive a response.
Ms Wilson says entrepreneurs need to be careful when closing a business.
"Closing a business is more work than opening one in many many ways," she says. "You have to have an exit strategy and have it reflect the values of why you started the business in the first place. Develop an exit strategy, you never know when you are going to use one."