New Zealand’s largest organic apple grower is going the extra mile to educate employees about healthy eating, serving up daily organic meals for hundreds of staff.
Bostock New Zealand has significantly invested in a new purpose built organic kitchen where staff can enjoy premium organic meals.
Bostock New Zealand owner, John Bostock says he has always had a vision to teach his employees about healthy eating and show them that tasty, wholesome food is better for them and just as affordable as processed, fast food.
“We are strongly committed to the well-being of all our staff. We are a country that has major issues with poor diet, obesity and sugar, but we can change this giving people opportunities to learn new, exciting and interesting ways to eat healthily.
“By taking away the cost barrier, we hope we will start changing eating habits,” says Mr Bostock.
“We grow our own organic, premium produce and we are now using this in our organic kitchen. We need to ‘walk the walk’ and create a healthy ethos inside our company so everyone who works at Bostock New Zealand in Hastings can take this home to their families and show that ‘we are what we eat’ – that nutritious food creates a healthier lifestyle.”
Bostock New Zealand employs up to 600 people in the height of the season and staff are welcome to dine at the Bostock Organic Kitchen, where a top chef has been employed to dish up wholesome cooked meals for the masses – all of which are subsidised and on occasions free.
Bostock New Zealand grows, packs and markets high quality squash, onions, grain and organic apples and also partly owns Bostock Organic Free Range Chicken – all produce, which is staple on the Organic Kitchen’s daily menu.
Bostock Organic Kitchen Chef, Arnault Vallee says he works hard to ensure the meals are nutritious and balanced.
“It’s important to cook meals that provide plenty of substance to keep the energy levels up for a busy day at work. I keep the lid on the sugar and try to use natural ingredients.”
Bostock New Zealand employee, Lawrence Nathan used to buy a pie, chips and bottle of fizzy for lunch, but now he eats a wholesome cooked meal at the Organic kitchen and says its cheaper and keeps him going for longer.
“I was spending $145 a week down at the takeaway bar and now I only spend $45 at the Organic Kitchen. It’s really educated me about nutrition. I now frequently have a nutritious restaurant quality meal and eat a variety of organic vegetables and meat. I feel so much healthier and get an extra $100 a week in wages.
“I used to have gout attacks regularly, but since eating at the Organic Kitchen I haven’t had any gout. It has been life changing for me. I have lost 10 kilo’s already and I’m taking what I have learnt home to my family. I have three children and we now moderate our sugar and fat intake. Our family didn’t eat greens in the past, but now we are eating vegetables regularly and I avoid fast food now.”
The first official guest at the Bostock Organic Kitchen was the Governor General who cut the ribbon and was treated to an organic lunch with Bostock staff today.
Sir Jerry Mateparae also presented a number of service awards to long serving Bostock New Zealand employees who have worked for the company for over thirty years.
“The Organic Kitchen investment will not only promote healthy eating and well being, it will also be great for our company culture and make it a more attractive place to work and ensure our recruitment and retention is strong,” says Mr Bostock.
The demand for organic apples has driven major growth at Bostock New Zealand and helped create more permanent jobs with plans to plant 50,000 more trees each year for the next five years and introduce more organic apple varieties.
However, the horticulture industry is challenged by an ongoing labour shortage so Bostock New Zealand is working closely with the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), WINZ and local iwi to help get people off the unemployment benefit and into permanent employment.
“The answer to our social problems is getting people into permanent employment and encouraging healthy lifestyles. We hope the Bostock Organic Kitchen will help create social change in Hawke’s Bay.”