Far North firm wins

The Northland Age - - Local News -

A Far North com­pany that spe­cialises in fer­men­ta­tion has been awarded this year’s Top En­ergy $30,000 Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Fund.

K4 Cul­tured Foods Ltd, from the Bay of Is­lands, pro­duces pre­mium-qual­ity, live-pro­bi­otic fer­ments, in­clud­ing green tea kom­bucha, cul­tured turmeric and a va­ri­ety of live fer­ments.

Founder of the Haruru Falls com­pany, Kaye van der Straten, who has a num­ber of au­toim­mune dis­eases, had a strong in­cen­tive to find a diet that would pro­mote healthy gut bac­te­ria and boost her im­mune sys­tem. She de­vel­oped a range of de­li­cious fer­mented goods that helped man­age her con­di­tions into re­mis­sion and which set the cul­ture for a suc­cess­ful lo­cal busi­ness to flour­ish.

De­scribed as a “sci­en­tist by train­ing and a foodie by in­cli­na­tion”, van der Straten said the com­pany has a clear vi­sion “to help peo­ple feel good . . . from the in­side out”.

Launched in 2016 with her part­ner Freddy Loov, the fam­i­ly­owned and op­er­ated busi­nesses has a crew pas­sion­ate about pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity, de­li­cious pro­bi­otic food and bev­er­ages. Recipe and flavour devel­op­ment are aided by chef Linz HartMacDia­rmid, who acts as a men­tor and in­spirer.

Van der Straten has drawn on her sci­en­tific knowl­edge and meth­ods tweaked from Cham­pagne and other in­dus­tries to de­vise a kom­bucha brew­ing tech­nique that is unique to K4.

“No other com­pany brews this way,” she said. “K4 brews are 100 per cent au­then­tic fer­ments with no preser­va­tives, ad­di­tives, or short­cuts to the fer­men­ta­tion process.”

From the out­set K4 has demon­strated a vi­sion for growth and its prod­ucts are sold in over 70 whole­sale stock­ists across the North Is­land, two lo­cal mar­ket stalls, an on­line re­tail store de­liv­er­ing across the North Is­land, and the K4 Brew­ery door which is open for tast­ing and door sales in the Bay of Is­lands. Recog­ni­tion has also been gained of all three of the K4 Kom­bucha Favours as fi­nal­ists in the 2018 In­spire + NZ Ar­ti­san Awards.

The pri­or­ity is to in­crease the num­ber of North­land em­ploy­ees from a part-time role oc­cu­pied by mas­ter of fer­men­ta­tion Pete Lind­grenStre­icher, to 3.5 full­time staff by 2019. They will also buy bot­tling plant ma­chin­ery lo­cally and com­plete the K4 Brew­ery build­ing re­fit work with a Kerik­eri based con­struc­tion com­pany. Mar­ket­ing will also place the K4 Brew­ery as a North­land Food & Bev­er­age tourism des­ti­na­tion with in­creased door sales.

Top En­ergy judges say they went with their gut when se­lect­ing this year’s win­ner.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Rus­sell Shaw is amazed every year by the cal­i­bre and com­mit­ment of lo­cal busi­nesses and en­trepreneur­s to max­imise the tal­ent and po­ten­tial of the Far North.

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