Foodstuffs

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Foodies making sure New Zealand kids get more out of life

Chris Quin, CEO of Foodstuffs North Island, shares his perspective on a new strategic partnership with Eat My Lunch.

In New Zealand today, like many 1st world countries we still have a problem, not every child goes to school with a healthy lunch to power their day and their learning. There are many causes of this, economic, some family and sometimes just education on how to look after healthy children. The reasons don’t matter as much as just taking the opportunity to do something about it.

Hunger gets in the way of children’s development, learning and growth. They can’t concentrate, they can’t be fully engaged; they are left on the side lines, they fade into the background, they become a statistic. There are around 25,000 kids a day in New Zealand who go to school without a decent lunch, and, we just talk some more – or do we?

It’s such a big opportunity that a New Zealand entrepreneur has developed a simple solution to address the problem. 

Back in 2015, Lisa King, with the help of award-winning chef Michael Meredith, decided that inaction wasn’t good enough.  So, Eat My Lunch was born; a business on a mission to ensure no Kiwi kid goes to school hungry. It’s a fascinating model, a social enterprise that makes money from selling organisations a “BUY” Eat My Lunch, and soon an Eat My dinner product, and uses the income to generate a GIVE lunch for these kids who need it most.

Fast forward two years and the team now delivers around 1,700 GIVE lunches a day to 48 schools across Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton. For every BUY lunch purchased, Eat My Lunch gives a free lunch to a Kiwi kid who needs it.  While this is a great start, research shows that there are many more children in New Zealand who are going to school each day without lunch.

Eat My Lunch needed a partner to feed many more thousands of children. They need one with significant resources, systems and reach, and the right cultural fit.  That’s where the Foodstuffs team comes in.

We are partnering with Eat My Lunch to help them feed even more Kiwi kids. Our strategic investment to become a part owner of Eat My Lunch will be used to scale up the number of GIVE lunches, and extend the service throughout the country. While Eat My Lunch retains the controlling interesting in the business, Foodies will be supporting Eat My Lunch financially and in real terms by giving them access to our supply chain and a wider community, through our network of stores.

Eat My Lunch is a perfect fit with a 100% New Zealand-owned company with a footprint in every city, town and village in New Zealand. The social enterprise model also resonates strongly with a company like ours which is inherently based on individual owners’ entrepreneurship.  Being able to invest in a business like Eat My Lunch feels bloody right. Lisa and the team are not only entrepreneurial but they are filling an important social need. Foodies operators are also entrepreneurs, employers, mentors and sponsors in their communities.  Contributing to Eat My Lunch’s success is an awesome opportunity and an absolute privilege. We just want to stand behind them and empower their purpose.

Now that we have the partnership we are excited about what we can do from here. Eat My Lunch will continue to run their business as they do today. We will be contributing financially to help them grow their business and in real terms by giving them access to our Supply Chain and wider community through our extensive network of stores. 

Next week the Foodies North Island Leadership Team will have a strategy day with the Eat My Lunch team to explore the possibilities of stocking their BUY product in our stores, partnering on meal kits and their new Eat My Dinner product, and any other way that we can help grow the success of the social good that Eat My Lunch are doing to address the 25,000 kids in New Zealand who don’t regularly get lunch. This is a fantastic fit with making sure New Zealanders get more out life and an exciting opportunity to take another step in meal solutions for our customers. I know our FSNI and store teams are all keen to pitch in and help make this happen.

The initiative goes right to the heart of what matters to us – it’s about giving New Zealand kids the chance to realise their potential and get more out of life. This awesome programme is practical and effective - we all know that full tummies give children more energy to learn and grow.

Lisa King says it best: “This collaboration with Foodstuffs will help us take a giant step towards achieving our mission goal of 25,000 free GIVE lunches a day for Kiwi kids in need. It’s heart-breaking walking into schools with something as simple as a few nutritious sandwiches and fruit knowing that this might be the best they get that day. But, it’s heart-lifting to know that with a partner like Foodstuffs investing in what we are doing, we will be able to realise our goals.”

Our Business absolutely has a responsibility to act in the best interests of its community – after all we rely on the community to keep us in business, so let’s invest in our people, our whanau, our neighbours and above all our children.

 

Cheers

Chris Quin

CEO Foodstuffs North Island

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