On the 1st of Janurary 2018, Co-Founder Brad Lake posted a pic on his instagram with the hashtag #YearOfBeefyGreen. I don’t think he realised just how big this year was going to get for us two South Island battlers.
From a humble beginning selling hemp protein to dogs via Facebook, to meeting the Two Raw Sisters, Rosa and Margo, who gave us the tools and the confidence to hold our first ever stall at the Christchurch Farmers Market in the middle of winter (the exact time you don’t want to be standing around trying to change perceptions of hemp), to forming a relationship with Steve Anderson, CEO of Foodstuffs. The Beefy Green lads have certainly had a whirlwind year.
Early on, we invested in product development with the Department of Food Science at Otago University. We needed our protein powder to be higher in protein and be able to dissolve in water if we were to compete with the whey protein market and convince people to make the switch to a plant based protein powder. After this project we were then put in touch with Food South based at Lincoln University for the scale-up and further discussions around other ways we could make it easier for humans to incorporate South Island grown hemp into their diets.
It was this relationship with Food South that was to facilitate the life changing event that happened on 31st October. Beefy Green presented a hemp seed protein bar to the judging panel of the FoodStarter competition. We had been developing this bar with Food South and we had very specific needs in terms of nutritional value the bar needed to have. The result? We won the competition which would allow us to stock these snack bars in all 44 New Worlds across the South Island. Keep your eyes peeled for these early 2019!
In the background of all of this, we were coming to terms with the cosmetic benefits of the hemp seed oil. With a comedogenic rating of 0 meaning it doesn’t block pores, and the fact that it contains GLA as an anti-inflammatory compound, it was clear we needed to utilise Brendon’s skills as a Pharmacist and develop a skin care range with this humble seed oil as a base. This meant having to form another company and Kōaka Cosmetics was born. Keep an eye on www.kōaka.co as our cosmetic range grows.
After meeting with the Foodstuffs CEO and category managers, we were made aware that we needed to change the name of Beefy Green if we wanted our hemp to be on the New World shelves. That afternoon, yet another company was formed – The Brothers Green, a hemp seed food company. This meant we could keep Beefy Green as our orignal ‘gym supplement’ brand which our 73% gold standard protein can come under and all our other future food products we develop for Foodstuffs can come under The Brothers Green.
To top it off, we wanted to highlight the full benefits of this South Island grown crop, utilising not just the seeds, but extending into the fibres. We were wearing hemp clothes at the Farmers Market to do this. The issue being, these clothes were very expensive and had to be imported from overseas due to NZ not having the manufacturing capabilities (just yet). Through a friend of a friend, we came across the talented Eden Sloss, a design student in Dunedin. After meeting once with Eden, the next week she was back in Christchurch with a sewing machine out the back of her parents house in Prebbleton. NZ Hemp Apparel was born. Watch out for the OGC Original Canvas and Hard on Gear dropping early 2019.
To summarise, we now have an umbrella company, Plant Based NZ Ltd. Under this umbrella we have four companies:
- Beefy Green– Your Nutritional Hemp Experts
- The Brothers Green– Hemp seed food company
- Kōaka– Hemp seed cosmetic company
- NZ Hemp Apparel– Hemp clothing company
It is important to note that we have got to this point while both still holding down full time jobs. We started Plant Based NZ for a few reasons – first, to create a market for South Island grown hemp which would enable us the confidence to go to local farmers and convince them there was future in hemp, there were options to improve their business and the environment we all share. Our farmers are vitally important, and to restrict through Government policy their ability to thrive and meet changing regulations based on no evidence is insanity. We cannot continue to allow these decisions influenced by offshore governments to affect the future of our nation. There is huge opportunity to take NZ beyond the commodity protein cycle we are currently addicted to. We will not let this opportunity slip by.
The second reason was to give people a better choice to make in terms of their gym supplements and protein intake. Plant based protein is the future and we needed to make a product that tasted good to enable hemp protein to become a staple in peoples diets.
Our moonshot, the reason this whole business started and what has kept us going through the late hours and early mornings has been our fundamental purpose. We started this company to enable us to fund and run a retreat for people who have been caught by a food and health system which promotes chronic illness and disease through our lifestyle and diets. Our rates of chronic disease, being over weight and unhealthy are growing with astonishing velocity and our current health system is already struggling to keep up. We are the third most overweight and obese nation on Earth. This is unacceptable New Zealand. We want to create a place that people can come to re-set, and re-learn how to live healthy and sustainable lives. We want to teach people how their diet can be their medicine and our bodies are capable of healing and preventing disease, from the inside out, so that they don’t need to rely on our struggling health system. This health system is not designed to cope with this much chronic disease and we want to empower people to be able to exercise true freedom. Free from a system that does not treat the cause of these illnesses but the symptoms and is keeping our people and our planet sick. We will build this by donating 5% of all proceeds to this charity in the hope we can use our skills, knowledge and passion to prove to people that chronic illness is a choice, and we all have a choice.
Finally, we want to pause and think of all the amazing people we have met along this journey so far. We are super grateful for all the epic love and support everyone has given us. We definitely could not be where we are today without that support.
Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi. Engari, he toa takitini - Success is not the work of one, but the work of many.
We are writing this newsletter on the eve of another milestone in Plant Based NZ history. On Thursday 20th December 2018, The Brothers Green Hemp Seed Oil will be available for sale at Northwood New World. This is a significant step in our quest to take hemp and health mainstream. Brad has handed in his resignation, he will no longer be a rural bank manager. Brendon has taken himself off the roster at the pharmacy. These are two very prominant careers that we have left behind, in a pursuit to change the world as we know it.
Welcome to Plant Based NZ and bring on 2019.