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A spoonful of rainbow


A spoonful of rainbow

Revolutionising healthy nutritional intake: Four handfuls of berries and leafy greens in one quick shot.

The social enterprise Nutrient Rescue was established as a passion project, after Michael Mayell of Cookie Time fame had a health scare. He and his wife Samantha switched to an organic plant-based diet, and after looking around for convenient local micro-nutrient products, and not finding what they needed, they started working with a nutritionist and food technologists to develop a wholesome, sustainable fruit and leafy green product with ingredients sourced by New Zealand growers. The result is Nutrient Rescue, a pure powdered product now helping many Kiwis to easily increase their daily servings of fruit and greens and bump up their vitamin intake.

Simon Challies joined the company as director after retiring as CEO of Ryman Healthcare due to Parkinson’s, and seeing the impact Nutrient Rescue can make in improving nutrition.

The superfood powders originally came in two different varieties — the Green Shot which contains wheat leaf, barley leaf and other greens, and the Red Shot containing blackcurrants and boysenberries. They soon realised their customers wanted both so Double Shot was born. It’s an easy way take in a healthy dose of nutrients in the morning — just mix a teaspoon of powder with water, shake it up, knock it back. Each scoop of powder contains the equivalent of four handfuls of berries and leafy greens.

The whole foods are derived mostly from the South Island. Organic wheat leaf, barley leaf, green pea, spearmint and broccoli sprout are grown in the Canterbury plains, blackcurrants are grown in Pleasant Point, the boysenberries come from Nelson. Manuka Leaf comes from an organic farm in the Bay of Plenty.

The Nutrient Rescue team have a genuine care for people and the planet. Photo: Supplied

Chief Shotser (CEO) Andrew Simcock and his Christchurch-based team work closely with their suppliers, some are now shareholders, to incentivise organic farming. Where it’s not currently feasible — the boysenberries need some early intervention to prevent botrytis for example — they strenuously test to ensure all products are residue-free. They are aiming for 100% organic in the future. “We do as little to the product as we can to preserve the nutrition,” he says. “We use the whole berry or the whole leaf and remove only the water. The berries are freeze dried and powdered, while the leaves are lightly dried and powdered. There are no preservatives or sweeteners or additives and it’s designed to give a boost of micronutrients.”

“The berries are freeze dried and powdered, while the leaves are lightly dried and powdered. There are no preservatives or sweeteners or additives and it’s designed to give a boost of micronutrients.”

Simcock, with a background in both plant science and commerce, calls his suppliers every week, and actively tracks the product from the farm to the warehouse. “Our growers are as passionate as we are, and we have a transparent supply chain all the way from garden to glass.” The enterprise supports their growers to focus on soil science to develop the most nutritional produce possible. “The ingredients we’ve selected are things that grow best in New Zealand, and we harvest at their peak. Because of our soil and growing conditions we’re really good at growing leafy greens, but the bulk of the nutrient-dense greens in our mix are not normally consumed by people as an everyday item. Similarly not everybody eats berries every day but we grow the best blackcurrants in the world because our high UV light promotes anthocyanins in the skin, that forms the black colour and is a powerful antioxidant.”

Most of the enterprise’s customer base has evolved out of word-of-mouth referrals, and their website has hundreds of customer testimonials sharing stories of improved health outcomes from taking the shots. “That’s been our best advertising strength for growing our business.” Up to now they’ve been primarily focussing on their New Zealand customer base and also selling in Australia, and are currently working with NZTE to expand into other countries, helping to enhance growers’ clean, green, and sustainable image. “We’re finding it to be a pretty easy message to get across — beautiful 100% New Zealand produce.”

The enterprise has found that some of their customers struggle with the taste of the unsweetened product initially. “That’s all part of the journey,” Simcock says. “After about three weeks they are often getting back to us to say their tastebuds have changed, their sugar cravings have lessened and they are now enjoying tasting completely different things.”

Nutritional research supports getting a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in our daily diet but that’s difficult in a consumer crisis where the costs of produce are soaring. Over 60 percent of Kiwis don’t manage the five or more serves of fruit and vegetables a day. Simcock’s dedicated young team are motivated to help support families and fight back in a world where it’s not easy to live a healthy life. “We’ve kept the family pack at a level that the price of our shots are $2 per day.” For some of Nutrient Rescue’s shot-takers, this means they can focus on eating seasonal produce and take their shot to get added variety into their diets.

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