Darcy Schack and business partner Carl Hatfield developed their first range of eight gourmet, all-natural, easy-to-use products over the space of about 18 months. Schack told the team how Hammerhead Foods came about, new culinary creations and future plans.

What is your company background, how did you start the business?

“My mate and I wanted to cook up a few steaks so we went to the shop looking for a really good seasoning. We were gutted that everything we picked up had either rice flour as a filler or some numbered artificial ingredient and ended up going home empty handed. We wanted real honest, full flavour seasoning with natural ingredients that we could feel good about putting on our food. He was a chef, and I was a fat man with a beard who loved food so we started seriously talking about this hole in the market and what we could do about it. We started experimenting to see what we could put together ourselves using various strategies and techniques, even built our own custom smoker and created four smoked salts and four slow cooker seasoning packs. Our Mosgiel-based company was launched as Hammerhead Foods, and we came to market about mid-2015.”

What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?

“We put a great deal of passion, love and care into each of our creations and produce them for retail and professional customers in handcrafted batches. All of our products are gluten and dairy free, completely natural with no fillers or artificial preservatives. We are very, very particular about what goes into our products and strive to produce the best quality, most flavourful seasonings and preserves on the market. Because of this, our products are easy to use offering a fully balanced flavour that can be added by the spoonful (salt and spice blends) to create a sensational gourmet meal in the slow cooker or oven. Our retail range includes five custom smoked salt and spice blends and four slow cooker recipe bases and our professional range consists of over 20 items including seasonings, preserves, smoked and dehydrated produce and a few other custom made goodies.

In 2015 one of the products in our slow cooker range, Go Gourmet Thai, was a finalist in the New Zealand Food Awards convenience category.”

Has there been any recent company news?

“We have recently expanded our retail range to include preserves, smoked and dehydrated items that we sell at the Otago Farmers Market. We also have plans to feature some of these products on our website. This line includes harissa, pickled red onion relish, pickled hot chillies, BBQ and hot sauce, dehydrated oranges and mandarins as well as smoked hot chillies.”

What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?

“We are expanding our marketing efforts with our professional range to offer more products directly to food industry professionals.

We are forever innovating and coming up with new culinary creations to add to our professional range and also to our Farmers Market product offerings, so watch this space.”

Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?

“Our retail range is currently available at 50+ retailers throughout New Zealand, from Auckland to  Invercargill including most New World and Raeward Fresh stores in the South Island. We are in the process of expanding to the North Island Foodstuffs retailers.

Our professional range is distributed by Aitkens and information about this range is available through them, or you can contact us directly at info@hammerheadfoods.co.nz.

Our retail range and other products are available at the Otago Famers Market and also on our website. Please visit our Facebook page for weekly updates on our new products and recipes.”Thai cut