A young Hawke’s Bay poultry farmer is no longer flying under the radar as New Zealanders want more of his organic free-range chicken.
Just over a year in business, Ben Bostock (30) has doubled production to 3000 chickens a week to meet increased demand from across the country. Bostock’s chickens are antibiotic free, GMO-free, chlorine free and chemicalfree with no growth hormones.
Bostock’s timing was perfect, with main competitor Brinks no longer supplying organic chicken to the New Zealand market. “When we started out last year we had small orders and as word has spread they just keep coming in,” says Bostock.
“We took a steady and targeted approach, made cold calls and focused on building strong direct supplier relationships. While I believed our organic free range chicken would become popular, ultimately it’s consumers who make the choice.
“What has surprised me though, is how quickly word is spreading and we are now getting calls and orders from across the country.” Remuera New World was one of the first to sell Bostock’s Organic Free Range Chicken. Butchery manager Grant Harvey said the chickens are “flying off the shelf”.
“Young Ben just rocked up to the counter and started talking about his chicken. I thought this young guy is showing initiative and has great confidence in his product." So we purchased a couple of boxes and now we’ve increased to 100 chickens a week and expect to sell even more, along with a good range of portion cuts. “In the deli section on the rotisserie, half the chickens are now Bostock’s.”
“Customers are coming back and asking for more, they are telling us the chicken tastes like chicken, the meat has flavor and the bones are strong, not brittle. It’s always fresh and reliable. Even some of our regular celebrity chefs and food columnists are saying good things, which is pretty cool for Ben.”
Bostocks Organic Free Range chickens are housed in 120 metre-square mobile barns, on an organic apple orchard in Hawke’s Bay. Each barn is 120 square metres and solar-powered - housing 1500 chickens (the maximum allowed by organic certification standards) and they free range over 4500sqm of open-grassed space.
“We are the real deal here, totally transparent. And we also are raising the bar about 30 times when you see how our chickens live their free-range life compared to what is the standard requirement to gain free-range status.” The chickens eat homegrown organic feed: a mix of corn, barley, apple pumice, soy meal, fish meal and blood meal.
Another significant point of difference is that Bostock Organic Free-Range Chicken is air-chilled, rather than being cooled in chlorine water baths which is the standard practice in New Zealand. Bostock’s Organic Free Range Chicken has nationwide distribution into all the main centres through a selection of food specialty stores, supermarkets and even service stations. A whole chicken retails for $20 -$24, depending on size along with a full range of portion cuts.