The Raglan Coconut Yoghurt business started somewhat by accident. Latesha Randall and her partner Seb love yoghurt, but Seb was reacting to dairy products. The pair didn’t want to give it up completely so decided to go dairy-free. Latesha chatted with the team about their coconut based creation.

What is your company background, how did you start the business?

I started experimenting in the kitchen with making coconut based yoghurt. It took a good few months to develop a recipe I was happy with, but we soon decided that we loved our new coconut yoghurt even more than the Greek yoghurt we’d previously been eating and Seb’s allergies cleared up. One day I offered a few extra jars on our local Raglan Noticeboard Facebook page a couple of weeks before Christmas 2014. It went crazy, and all the locals wanted to buy it and told their friends how delicious it was. Soon people all around the place started asking for it; Seb jumped in to help and together we’ve grown to supply 260+ stockists around New Zealand in the past year and a half!

What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?

Our original yoghurt is a natural Greek style coconut yoghurt. It is very popular and versatile for cooking and baking – many cafes use it on their menu for smoothies, breakfast bowls, and raw cakes, with curries, as a dairy-free dip, sour cream or dressing. It is dairy-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, and contains no gelatins or preservatives. We just recently launched two new flavours, pairing yummy real fruit with a beneficial spice – Mango & Turmeric and Blackcurrant & Heilala Vanilla. These are also refined sugar-free, gum-free and very delicious. They’ve been flying off the shelf! We have never seen yoghurts like them before on the New Zealand market, and we are also unique in using glass jars for our products instead of plastic; we were the first yoghurt in New Zealand to do this.

Has there been any recent company news?

Due to our rapid growth we had to build our own custom yoghurt kitchen here in Raglan, this was completed early this year. We have taken on seven staff; my brother, sister, Mum and some locals. We decided not to contract manufacture and to continue making everything ourselves to provide jobs in the local community and to ensure a high-quality product.

What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?

We are now starting to go into bigger supermarkets such as New World and Countdown. We also have a new product we’re working on for release later this year. Community projects and supporting the environment are important to us – we provide donated yoghurt to many charitable organisations and sponsor a beehive every month for a New Zealand family to support New Zealand bee populations. We have sponsored nine hives so far. We also collaborate with local artisan craftspeople to promote their work – last year we released a customised Tony Sly Pottery breakfast bowl, and we have another collaboration underway at the moment!

Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?

We’re in all the Farro, Nosh, Commonsense Organics, Raeward Fresh, and Bin Inn stores, plus many of the Fresh Choice and New World stores. We distribute all throughout New Zealand. More information and lots of yummy recipes can be found on our website www.raglancoconutyoghurt.co.nz.