Belinda Tuki is the founder of The Honest Food Company. Tuki is very passionate about her product and is off to London to hand-sell directly to UK supermarkets. After a trip to USA, she came back refreshed and ready to start her new life.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
"The Honest Food Company is a social enterprise with a focus on employing anyone who may have found it difficult to enter the workplace. For example, single mums and we pay everyone a fair living wage. We produce handmade paleo convenience food as a healthier alternative to processed breakfast and snack items. I'm a single mother myself and I completely understand how confronting it can be to get back into the workplace while supporting a child. One of the core values in my business is profit with a purpose. I want my staff to come into the workplace happy, hand making these beautiful creations, get paid well, but with five to six-hour workdays, so they can go home and enjoy time with their family.
When I was 28, I travelled to Texas in America and met a personal instructor who introduced me to paleo and changed my life forever. I was vegan at the time and was lethargic, bloated, had no energy, terrible mood swings and couldn't sleep. As soon as I started eating paleo, I started sleeping better, I felt happier and was no longer the angry young woman I was before. This was a revolutionary way of eating. I then went on to become a certified personal trainer in the YSA, then came to Auckland to pursue my dreams to create a product that could help people eat clean and be healthy and change the lives of Kiwi women back home. Back home as a personal trainer, I found many of my clients were spending an exorbitant amount of money on supplements. I was eating egg whites as my main source of protein so I created a company bottling and selling egg whites, and it became a thriving success.
This was until my manufacturer put my product under their name on supermarket shelves... I bounced back a year and a half later by creating Blondie and Brownie protein bars that were dairy-free, grain-free, raw, paleo, organic and free range with no added sugar. These were launched online in September 2013 and our store opened in St Heliers in July 2015."
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
"The Honest Food Company store now offers Blondie and Brownie bars, NAKED protein powder, Primal Protein Mix, (replacement for paleo cereal), our special protein blend with super foods as well as smoothies and raw chocolate truffles.
All of our creations have zero added sugars, no fillers or unnecessary ingredients. They are all gluten free, grain free and dairy free."
Has there been any recent company news?
"Our latest range is The Honest Food Kids Collection, which will be launched in September. These are delicious paleo kid-friendly snacks, great for lunchboxes with visually appealing packaging so they can ‘compete’ equally on the school grounds with processed food items. It’s a way for children to enjoy eating healthy options without feeling like they are missing out and parents don’t have to ‘guilt’ them into eating healthy food."
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
"We’re on a journey to serve the growing reality that people want to feel free to regularly eat wholesome paleo-inspired super-foods that are not just good for them, but energise and nourish them. And match their lifestyle with the right food. I'm committed to honouring my calling, empowering women to live unapologetically through authentic self-expression, and is passionate about living with purpose.
Whether that’s through my social enterprise The Honest Food Company or through AVIDGIRLBOSS, a global women’s empowerment movement, I'm passionate about women owning their power and showing up in the world as their true Self. If we want the world to be a better place, if we want to make a difference, we must be the change."
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability?
"The Honest Food Company is currently in an expansion of growth, with part of the strategy to be sold in supermarkets which our customers have been asking for. She is currently in discussions with a leading major New Zealand supermarket chain."