Not a soup and not a stock, bone broth is something better! Using a simple formula of time and quality ingredients, every batch of The Little Bone Broth Company’s 100% natural bone broth is slowly simmered for up to three days to draw out every last drop of flavour and nutrition.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
Cooking bone broth was a passion-project for former hospitality recruiter Alex Watson. An ardent foodie, Alex was familiar with boiling down carcasses after a roast to make stock, until a friend suggested simmering a little longer to create bone broth.
In March 2018, Alex turned up at his local Farmer’s Market with 45 jars of chicken and bone broth, expecting to maybe sell a couple of jars. Alex sold all of them. The next Saturday he went back with 73 jars, and sold out again. People started contacting him through Facebook asking for mid-week deliveries, and before he knew it Alex was looking for commercial kitchen spaces to keep up with demand. Bone broth had transformed Alex’s life from a passion-project to full-time career!
Alex has enjoyed success most food producers can only dream of. By March 2019, Alex was selling 2000 jars of his beef, chicken, and now vegetable bone broth every week through Farro Fresh Markets in the North Island, most Foodstuffs supermarkets nationwide, local butcheries, and of course, the Riccarton Bush Farmers Market. The Little Bone Broth Company will soon be selling 5000 jars every week, nationwide.
Our popularity is down to using quality, organic ingredients, cooked with time and love. It’s that simple. No additives, no preservatives, none of the high sodium or salt levels you’ll find in other processed stocks or broths. Our bone broth is all-natural, good food that’s great for you. That’s why people love it.
What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
Our chicken, beef and vegetable bone broths stand out because they are the only fresh bone broths on the market.
There’s a simple test that proves our bone broth tastes better than other stocks and broths on supermarket shelves. Simply take those artificially flavoured, additive filled alternatives and ask people if they would like to drink a warm cupful. Of course they don’t want to. Yet more and more people are using our bone broth as a healthy, nutrition filled way to begin their day.
Our bone broth is naturally seasoned with Pink Himalayan salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, apple cider vinegar and vegetables. Simmering all the ingredients for three days draws out every last drop of flavour and nutrition, making our bone broth perfect for drinking on its own. It’s made ready to drink and perfectly seasoned so you don’t have to add anything.
Our bone broths have deep, rich colours that reflect the rich flavours you find inside the jar. Our Beef Bone Broth is a savoury brown while our Chicken Bone Broth is a full-bodied yellow. These colours are all natural, and are the result of three days of simmering. When it comes to taste and visual appeal of our broth, there are no short-cuts.
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
Production is keeping up with current demand, which is increasing to 5000 jars of bone broth per week to satisfy Farro Fresh markets and Foodstuffs nationwide.
Some South Island New World Supermarkets are placing two orders a week in order to keep their chiller shelves stocked, plus we also have standing, weekly orders to most Christchurch butcheries.
There is no way we can reduce our three day cooking time and maintain quality. So we have implemented rigorous health and safety plans which will allow our commercial kitchen to run 24/7. Instead of simmering only during working hours, our bone broth can stay on the stove all day and night. The quality and goodness of our broth stays high, cooks for the same amount of time, and we can still increase production to meet our growing demand.
Meeting the growth of demand has meant looking outside of Canterbury to source ingredients. All of our suppliers must share our vision for quality and sustainability. In early 2020 we connected with Bostock Brothers Organic Free Range Chicken in the Hawke’s Bay. We’re inspired by their organic attitudes to farming, and we are proud to partner with them to produce our chicken bone broth.
As an A listed product, we directly supply the South Island Foodstuffs Distribution Centre in Hornby. They have a standing order, and we send them pallets of bone broth every week in layers. They take care of distributing our bone broth around all Foodstuffs supermarkets in the South Island. It’s a slick, streamlined operation.
Supplying the North Island is more of a challenge, with our biggest issue being freight. Our numbers are not yet on a level where we can directly supply either of the two distribution centres in the North Island. This means we are using Big Chill refrigerated shipping to deliver individual packages on Wednesdays and Fridays to six Farro stores, seven Countdowns and Moore Wilsons in Wellington.
The time and challenges of packaging individual orders to prevent breakages, plus the cost of refrigerated shipping are two obstacles we are working to overcome.
Demand for our product is high and growing, and forecasts predict we will be able to approach one of the distribution centres before the end of the year. Our focus is shoring up supplier relationships and rebuilding our post-COVID North Island marketing campaign to make sure we can reliably meet the growing demand.
With all this growth and success, the Riccarton Bush Farmers Market is no longer our biggest consumer outlet. Even still, rain or shine you will find us there every Saturday morning because it’s where our dream was born.
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability?
You can find our bone broth in Peter Timbs' Butcheries around Christchurch, Countdown supermarkets around the South Island and most Farro Fresh markets and Foodstuffs supermarkets nationwide.
Although COVID caused a lot of business disruption, we are wanting to expand our availability so we can better supply supermarkets across the North Island.