Free-range on the menu at burger joint

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

A lo­cal burger joint is tread­ing where no fast food chain has dared to tread be­fore.

Mur­der Burger on Pon­sonby Rd has de­clared it­self com­pletely free-range.

The gourmet burger chain has be­come known dur­ing the past year for its provoca­tive and cheeky ad­ver­tis­ing which hap­pily la­bels its meat as mur­der.

For some of the shop’s car­niv­o­rous pa­trons, the warm fuzzy free-range mes­sage might seem ironic.

But Olivia Woodroffe, wife of part-owner Paul Shale, says it’s sim­ply about be­ing hon­est.

Mrs Woodroffe, who ini­ti­ated the idea, has a back­ground in ad­ver­tis­ing and says she knows the in­dus­try is of­ten less hon­est than it could be.

“Let’s face it, meat is mur­der, we’re not try­ing to hide be­hind any­thing,” Mrs Woodroffe says.

But she says if there’s a way to en­sure the an­i­mals had a happy life, it makes sense.

Only us­ing free-range prod­ucts at home, she says it seemed wrong not to do it in busi­ness as well.

“I know a lot of peo­ple who only want their fam­ily to have hu­manely farmed meat.”

She says she’s made it very hard for the com­pany’s team of own­ers, mak­ing sure they im­ple­ment the free-range meat and eggs as strictly as pos­si­ble.

The com­pany’s pub­lic re­la­tions man­ager Kirk MacGib­bon says he hopes that by go­ing freerange, it can en­cour­age a chain re­ac­tion, even­tu­ally mak­ing it eas­ier to ac­cess free-range chicken, pork and beef in New Zealand.

“Free-range still feels like the un­der­dog.

“New Zealand has a great op­por­tu­nity to re­ally adopt this kind of farm­ing,” he says.

Mar­ket­ing man­ager for the nearby take­away ri­val Burger Fuel Alexis Lam says al­though the com­pany has al­ways wanted to go free-range, it’s much harder be­cause of its size.

With 24 stores na­tion­wide, he says the busi­ness is stuck in an awk­ward place.

“We’re too big to guar­an­tee the sup­ply but too small to make a dif­fer­ence.”

How­ever he says Burger Fuel spec­i­fies wher­ever pos­si­ble that it wants and prefers free-range and hopes in fu­ture that the sup­ply will be­come more eas­ily avail­able.

“If every­one goes out to­mor­row and buys freerange ba­con, we can start to change,” Mr Lam says.

“For us it’s about do­ing the best we can with what we’ve got.”

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Mur­der­ously hu­mane: Mur­der Burger’s Kirk MacGib­bon, left, and Olivia Woodroffe are proud to de­clare the Pon­sonby shop com­pletely free-range.

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