SPOTLIGHT ON: GOOD FOR THE PLANET

THE HEART OF DILMAH

It all began in New Zealand and Australia but Dilmah Tea has grown in just under 30 years to become one of the most well-known tea companies around the world. Based in Sri Lanka, the family business got its first big opportunity in New Zealand through local connections which enabled founder Merrill J. Fernando to get his fledgeling brand of pure Ceylon tea onto supermarket shelves. The decision to front his own ads and the now-iconic phrase “Do Try It” began here, so New Zealand has a special place in the heart of ‘Mr Dilmah’. In turn, his tea has worked its way into the hearts of loyal customers too.

The real heart of Dilmah however, is intrinsically tied to his philosophy of business as a matter of human service, a belief held long before corporate social responsibility was a thing. As his business rapidly grew so did his commitment to both the community and conservation, something which was formalised in later years through the MJF Charitable Foundation and Dilmah Conservation. Supporting hundreds of projects throughout Sri Lanka the foundation has touched thousands of lives and extends to New Zealand through their long-term support of Hospice and Ronald McDonald House. Dilmah chooses not to shout too loud about this important part of what they do, believing it is just a core responsibility of any business to not only work for profit but to have a ‘reason for being’ that creates positive change in the world. To learn more visit www.mjffoundation.org or www.dilmahconservation.org.


NEW GROUNDED RESPONSIBLE COFFEE

Enjoying a freshly brewed coffee in the morning feels good, but it tastes better when it’s responsible. Responsible Coffee is how Cooks Global Foods describes its new brand of fresh coffee – Grounded. Taking sustainability to the next level – Grounded Responsible Coffee is not only certified Fairtrade and Organic, but is also certified Climate Neutral, and actively involved in tree planting both locally in NZ, and in the coffee growing region of Peru – which is one of the origins featured in its blends.

Grounded Responsible Coffee is one of the first New Zealand coffees to receive Fairtrade Climate Neutral certification. Its greenhouse gas emissions are measured from farm to shelf by an independent auditor and Grounded work to reduce as much as possible, neutralising the rest through tree-planting. They plant trees in New Zealand to protect local flora, fauna and waterways with Trees for Survival, and in Peru, the tree-planting is done by Fairtrade coffee farmers. This not only contributes positively to the environment but also provides extra income for the Peruvian coffee-growing community, who are using the funds to adapt their farms to cope with the effects of climate change. Erratic and changing climate patterns are having a huge impact on coffee crops worldwide, with some reports suggesting that climate change has the potential to reduce half the global growing area for coffee production by 2050.

Grounded was crafted to reflect the needs of today’s premium fresh coffee consumer and is right on point according to Neilsen’s Global Online Survey on Premiumisation. Their 2017 study revealed that coffee was one of the top categories consumers would consider buying a premium product in and that they were willing to pay a premium for organics, natural ingredients and environmental and social responsibility.

With premium prices comes high consumer expectations and the small passionate Grounded team have been careful to deliver. The range of whole coffee beans, plunger grind and coffee capsules has beautiful minimalist style packaging design that catches the eye on the shelf – and looks great in the kitchen – is a promise of the quality of the coffee inside. Many hours were spent developing and refining the Kickstarter & #time2shine blends and single origin Colombian coffee, and they are already being very well received by consumers, flying off supermarket shelves and getting positive feedback on social media.

The Kickstarter blend packs a punch with a smooth, dark, full flavour; #time2shine has a rich, sweet delicately complex flavour; and the Colombian single origin has a natural caramel sweetness with nutty undertones.

Grounded is supported by a strong marketing program and on the back of its early success, there are exciting new developments underway.

For more information please contact your local Crossmark representative or visit www.groundedcoffee.co.nz.


EARTH LOVING CHOCOLATE

Nutritious snacks have seen a 12 percent growth since August 2016, and chocolate is a leading category. Loving Earth is dedicated to sourcing and manufacturing the highest quality, organic, fairly traded and wild-crafted functional foods and raw chocolate. Its 30g, 45g and 80g bars come ready to eat, are dairy free, gluten free and vegan. Better still, they’re beautifully wrapped in a plant-based, compostable pack.


TASTE THAT IS ALL GOOD

In 2010 Chris Morrison, founder of Phoenix Organics, his brother Matthew and friend Simon Coley bought the first Fairtrade and organic bananas to New Zealand.

They called them All Good because, as well as tasting good, they were farmed sustainably and directly supported the 150 small family farmers who grew them in El Guabo, Ecuador.

To this day All Good remains the only New Zealand banana company who work directly with small farmers to supply bananas grown to the strict environmental standards required by Fairtrade certification. The same standards that guarantee growers get a fair deal and the rainforests where they live and work are farmed free of the harmful chemicals used in large-scale, conventional banana plantations.

All Good has the vision to offer Kiwis ethical, sustainable food & drinks that are good for the growers, good for the land and good for us. They want to give Kiwis an ethical, sustainable alternative.

Follow All Good on Facebook and Instagram @allgoodbananas to keep up to date with their latest news and the positive impacts they are making to the grower communities in Ecuador.


BIODEGRADABLE AND RECYCLABLE PUNNETS

Meadows mushrooms are not only the leading producers of mushrooms in New Zealand but the product they grow – the beautiful mushroom – is a stunning example of recycling. At Meadows, the mushrooms are grown from compost made almost entirely from recycled waste material and the end product is a truly healthy, safe and sustainable food that tastes amazing.

Meadows are 100 percent committed to sustainability as a core value of its business and this year they wanted to shout about their achievements, so what better way to than to use their biodegradable and recyclable cardboard pre-packs as a billboard.

One of the brand’s key decisions was to move away from using plastic punnets to contain its mushrooms, and in doing so, have been able to eliminiate the equivalent of 2.5 million plastic drink bottles in just one year, which has been incredibly well-received by their customers.

“Environmental issues are of paramount importance to New Zealanders and we see our switch to cardboard packs from plastic as a major breakthrough within the New Zealand produce sector,” said chief executive officer John Barnes.

As well as protecting the mushrooms, a moisture-resistant barrier added to the cardboard ensures the produce stays fresh whilst ensuring the pack retains the ability to degrade during the composting process.

At present, Meadows is celebrating New Zealand’s diversity of nationalities and cultures with an international series of meal inspirations for the versatile mushroom. Each biodegradable pre-pack punnet has an inspiring global meal idea. Whether it’s the delicious Mexican taco, Korean bibimbap, Chinese dumpling or French galette – this gives consumers a time to create some stunning flavours with Meadows mushrooms.

Most people are unaware of how the humble mushroom is grown. One of the most important ingredients in the growing process of mushrooms is the compost. Meadows are pleased to say that their compost is made from agricultural by-products which would fill a staggering 2.3 rugby fields. The Meadows compost is then 100 percent recycled back into arable cropping and gardening landscaping, this creates a complete full circle cycle.

Meadows mushrooms know that the sustainability journey is work-in-progress for everyone and their next challenge is to remedy the plastic film wrap used on their biodegradable pre-pack punnets. The starting point has been to partner with Love NZ Plastics recycling scheme to encourage mushrooms lovers to recycle the plastic film by dropping it in the collection bins available at supermarkets around the country. Recycled soft plastics are then processed and used to make products such as bollards, park benches and garden products just to name a few.

“We will continue to investigate options for biodegradable film and opportunities to support appropriate research towards it, but in the meantime, this is a really positive step to help reduce plastic waste,” said Mel Rushton, Meadows marketing manager.

Sustainability is definitely a journey and it takes every single person to make a difference.

Meadows continues to be the leading producer of mushrooms in New Zealand. Proudly family owned since 1970, Meadows is dedicated to growing great tasting nutritious mushrooms to be enjoyed by kiwi families every day. Based in Christchurch, they are continually investing in innovation to produce the best quality farm product to kiwi kitchens. Picked daily, it’s guaranteed that Meadows mushrooms are always 100 percent fresh.


ECO-FRIENDLY ALTERNATIVE TO PLASTIC BAGS

While plastic bags are convenient, easy-to-use and available in just about every store across the globe, they are not biodegradable and are detrimental to the environment.

As major retailers start phasing them out, people will need alternatives, points out New Zealand based business EcoBags.

Recognising the threat of plastic bags to the environment, EcoBags began designing recyclable, reusable and eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bags.

“We supply sustainable packaging solutions and bags made from jute, cotton, canvas, paper, bamboo and non-woven fabrics as environmentally-friendly solutions to our customer,” said EcoBags marketing manager Clancy Simmonds.

EcoBags have also designed biodegradable checkout bags that are made from natural corn starch. “These bags are 100 percent compostable and are specifically designed to be sustainable from start to finish. Ideally everyone would carry reusable bags, however, not everyone does and shops want to offer their customer’s alternatives to plastic.”

As well as the checkout bags the compostable bin liners are a great replacement for traditional full plastic liners that can take up to 1000 years to break down. These truly biodegradable liners can start breaking down immediately when exposed to heat and moisture.

The bags use non-toxic water-based eco-friendly inks instead of traditional oil-based solutions that may contain harmful chemicals

“The extra microns in the compostable bags mean that they are highly durable and prevent leaking. Simply put in your household composter or green organic collection service ready for an industrial composting facility.”

Ecobags are proud to be finalists in the Westpac Business Awards and Innovation of their compostable range which are meeting consumer demand across many stores in New Zealand. For more information visit www.ecobags.co.nz.


FOR THE LOVE OF CHOCOLATE

Founded in 2010 out of a love for natural whole foods, in particular, the sweet kind, Lucy Bennetto began the journey to ethically source sustainable cocoa for her increasingly popular dark raw chocolate. From the kitchen bench-top, Bennetto began refining chocolate using an Indian spice grinder found on TradeMe and a fan to keep the motor cool. It wasn’t long before the crowds gathered craving her raw cacao chocolate, and in 2014 she began trading retail. Based in Christchurch, Bennetto has a small facility that was opened this year making the drinking bars from scratch and blending the powders with coconut sugar. The range has continued to include two dark cocoa hot chocolate powders made with coconut sugar and a new range of eating chocolate in four flavours will be launched in November 2018.

“Our mission is to create the worlds most trusted organic brand for food lovers,” said Bennetto. “We aim to be a globally trusted and recognised organic food brand within the next ten years. We have a passion for organic food, its impact and the positive influence we can make on consumer choices.”

Bennetto uses only organic Fairtrade Peruvian cocoa from cooperatives and the only other ingredients to pass through the facility are cocoa butter, coconut and cane sugar, ground vanilla, essential oils and spices.

“We keep our facility free of soy, dairy and gluten, and the only waste we produce are the disposable gloves.”

Bennetto and her team have also been working on a new range of organic Fairtrade eating chocolate which is a partnership with Swiss chocolate makers but using her won recipes and production recommendations.

“Our Swiss partners also have values closely aligned with ours, with cooperative sourced cocoa, clean ingredients and carbon offset all the production with tree planting in Peru.”

The brand cares about offering healthier food choices so all of its chocolate is dark with the minimum cocoa solids in the bars of 60 percent and the powders no less than 40 percent cocoa. All of the ingredients are traceable.

“We see ourselves first and foremost as a natural food company and we happen to love chocolate.”

Its drinking chocolate bars are an original formulation ensuring they dissolve easier in hot milk and the drinking chocolate powders are not only blended with coconut sugar to make them more nourishing but also with added Peruvian superfoods.

The current range includes Organic Fairtrade 70 percent drinking chocolate bars for retail and foodservice, Organic Dark cocoa drinking chocolate powders with coconut sugar, Organic Superfood Drinking chocolate powders with coconut sugar, and Organic Fairtrade Eating chocolate range in four flavours (launching in 2018).


DIETS RICH IN WHOLE FOODS

For 25 years, Functional Wholefoods have been passionate about delivering healthy, organic whole foods, grown in New Zealand or sourced from indigenous growing regions. Based in Geraldine in the heart of the Southern Alps, South Island, it manufactures and produces organic, raw, nutritious, Omega 3-rich seed oils, fibres and flours. With a mission to ensure that New Zealand diets are rich in whole foods and full of nutrients that create wellness, the products are designed for all stages of life, from six months to the twilight years.

The team at Functional Wholefoods pride themselves on ensuring that they honour the seeds used. From growing and sourcing the best quality organic raw material to manufacturing on cold presses, it allows delivery of extra virgin seed oils, and flours where the seed has not lost its nutritious integrity and is bottled with love.

“We are not just a Flaxseed company,” said Eve Johnson, director at Functional Wholefoods. “With our new gourmet range, we are replacing pantry staples with new healthy, organic, and nutritious alternatives that can be used every day. The range will extend to include food staples with our quality tick.”

Functional Wholefoods continues to be the number one provider of Organic Flax Seed Oil in New Zealand that never compromises on quality or taste. It is a concentrated source of Omega 3 from sustainable sources. “We hope to dominate organic healthy seed oils and fibres as staples on every shelf in every pantry. Our expansion is in range extension and we would like to sit on more supermarket shelves so consumers have choice wherever they choose to shop.”

The only challenged faced is educating consumers on dietary choices and teaching them what is healthy and what is not. “So often purchases are price driven, what you can afford, it’s a modern reality in New Zealand. However, people need to buy more nutritiously dense food that you eat less of, but gives you more. It’s an uphill battle at times, but we are more than up for the challenge.”