The popularity of weekend farmers' markets suggests that when we have time, we'd prefer to shop local, buying our fruit and veg direct from producers for a farm fresh taste. Come the middle of the week, however, and convenience tends to overwhelm and a trip to the supermarket beckons.
Peter Smith is out to change things with his company Foodbox.co.nz. It's a website that makes it easy and affordable to have fine New Zealand produce (and imported bananas) delivered to your door for as little as $1. The scheme is so popular that each day farm fresh produce - fruit, veg, meat, eggs and fish - collected that morning is delivered to Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Mount Maunganui, and Whangaparaoa.
We caught up with Peter to find out more...
How do you go about selecting your suppliers?
We look for people who really care about what they do, and for people producing interesting products - Allan Fong the Fresh Grower is a perfect example and we source a lot of our greens from him. Our egg supplier is another great example - these guys select the eggs for us from the youngest flock of birds they have. This means that the egg white has a high concentration of albumin. This structural protein is what keeps your eggs together when you poach them. So, do away with your vinegar or salt or what ever tricks to keep the eggs together - just buy better eggs.
Industry friends - Lefroy Valley Seeds are a commercial seed producer for example. They recently came to us with a new melon variety called the Twist. It's absolutely delicious and as it's new to the market, we had to have them.
We're also passionate about yummy apples - you'll never get a floury one.
What’s the best part of your job?
Firstly, I love going home at the end of the day knowing that people are eating more fruit and veg than they previously were. Secondly, I love seeing employees moving into new roles and taking on new responsibilities - it's really cool walking into a room and not really know what's going on but feeling confident that it's all under control!
What are your most popular products?
We're a fruit and veg company and always want to be. By far our fruit and veg boxes are our most popular products. Our meat and fish box numbers are gaining each week but they've got a long way to go to catch the fruit and veg.
Do food trends affect what you stock?
Kale, Kale Kale - it was a nightmare to get hold of because no-one grew it, then everyone grew it, then people stopped and now it seems to be falling out of favour. It's actually a bit of an industry problem - you see growers want to grow more interesting products but there needs to be a market for it. At Foodbox we love new interesting products, a great example is the Twist melon - we've taken as many as we get - they're brilliant.
Why is it better to order from you rather than the supermarket?
Simple - we sell NZ produce plus bananas. We source and pack daily and we're not expensive. Our products don't sit on shelves and aren't handled by multiple people. Most people get exposed to fruit and veg they may not recognise and if they don't like it they can opt out of having it in the future. There's even recipes each week and large collection online to help people work out what to do with a particular ingredient - try Jenny's Kitchen on the Foodbox site.
Excellent quality - we only sell what's in season. If it's out of season or poor in supply, we miss it out.
Convenience - we come to you with delivery from as little as $1!
It's fun and children like it - even though it's our company I get mine delivered home and am still pleasantly surprised opening the box to see what's in it.
To sign up or trial Foodbox, visit www.foodbox.co.nz