Hemp seed food product manufacturer Beefy Green describe themselves as being at the forefront of a food revolution. As the winners of FoodStarter; a competition to find New Zealand’s most innovative food product currently under development by a startup business, means their crusade to introduce New Zealanders to the benefits of hemp food products has just been elevated to another level.
Beefy Green manufactures hemp seed based nutritional products. Winning FoodStarter earns them access to more than $95,000 of business incubation assistance and guaranteed placement of their products on New World supermarket shelves.
Legislation allowing hemp to be sold for human consumption will change in December, and Beefy Green founders, Brad Lake and Brendon McIntosh are poised to take full advantage of this.
“New Zealand is the last country in the world to allow hemp seeds to be sold for human use. We know that hemp seed is a plant-based answer to many of our country’s health problems,” says McIntosh – a pharmacist. Currently hemp seed products can only be sold for animal consumption.
In addition to being a superfood, the farming of hemp has many environmental and economic benefits. Lake, an ASB rural banker and knows that the agricultural sector is facing a head wind. “Hemp is a viable option for parts of our farming community, for bioremediation of our soils, to clean up the environment and provide massive environmental and economic advantages to help combat some of the issues facing farmers,” adds Lake.
Winning this competition will allow the pair to complete the development of the protein bar with industry expertise and scale up its manufacturing to supply South Island New Worlds.
From 69, the pair made it to the top five, who appeared before a panel of industry experts at a dragon’s den style Pressure Cooker judging event. The other five entrants had equally innovative and commercially viable products ranging from insect patties, flavoured sheep’s milk, nitro coffee and flavour fuel in a jar.
“We entered this competition because we no longer wanted to sit on the side-lines, observant and silent. We wanted change, so we are helping to create it. Driving demand for New Zealand grown hemp-based products locally and internationally is our drive,” Lake says.
The competition arose out of a Canterbury business leaders discussion on how to promote and attract high-growth businesses into the region. Foodstuffs South Island and Ministry of Awesome, with the backing of ChristchurchNZ, FoodSouth and a handful of other key businesses decided to fast track their idea into reality.
Foodstuffs CEO Steve Anderson knows that winning products are not just born from big companies, but often from individuals with fresh and exciting products. “Innovative entrepreneurs and small businesses often disrupt the norm by creating products which have major success. While only one winner can take the top prize – we are putting together an informative FoodStarter workshop to help all entrants further develop their products and learn more about getting into the Foodstuffs distribution channel.”
Ministry of Awesome Chief Awesome Officer, Marian Johnson says Canterbury is a hot-bed of opportunity and business innovation. “It’s the perfect HQ for a high growth food and beverage entrepreneur’s bold ambitions. As the city rebuilds and grows, the potential is limitless, and this competition will help one worthy business take advantage of the expertise available locally.”
ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive Joanna Norris says Canterbury is the perfect spot to nurture high-growth food and beverage entrepreneurs.
“We love this business and are thrilled to support the growth of one of the world’s newest sustainable food industries, which builds on existing strengths in Christchurch in the heart of New Zealand’s food bowl.
“We have a history of exploring innovation that supports global trends, Beefy Green and their ambitions are the latest example of this. We love it.”