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Lunchbox legend: The Brothers Green

Brought to us from Christchurch-based hemp food company The Brothers Green, the Hempy Bar was designed to improve the health of Kiwi kids, while at the same time delivering a plant-based snack that looks great and tastes pretty darn awesome.



Hemp is one of the few plant-based proteins that contain all 20 amino acids, and is also a source of omega 3. Comprised of locally grown organic hemp seeds, the Hempy Bar is the long-awaited game-changer in snack-bars.

With sustainability and Aotearoa-made as The Brothers Green core business philosophy, the Hempy Bar comes in a fully home-compostable pouch and wrap, and its ingredients are from local food companies NZ Organic Hemp Co., Blue Coconut, and ViBERI.

Pop a Hempy Bar into your whanau’s lunchboxes for their “hempessential” health – and while you’re at it, why not one for yourself?

Hempy Bars are now at all South Island New Worlds.





Fostering culinary innovation

Kiwis are well known for their ingenuity, but even with all the imagination in the world, it can be hard for entrepreneurs to kick-start their great ideas without the right support. Access to expertise, research and development and the ability to get their product in front of people can be the biggest road blocks to success.



A partnership between Foodstuffs South Island and Ministry of Awesome, the FoodStarter competition aims to identify the most innovative and promising food or beverage product in New Zealand and help the winner get it to retail.

FoodStarter 2019 is now open for entries – and the prize is a food entrepreneur’s dream. This year’s prize pack is worth more than $75,000, and includes product development from FoodSouth, brand and design guidance from Strategy Advertising, business acceleration at Te Ōtaka – Centre for Growth and Innovation, and guidance from the team at MYOB. Winners also receive something money can’t buy – the guaranteed placement of their product stocked across all New World stores in the South Island. The month-long search culminates in a ‘Pressure Cooker’ event on 20 November, when the top five finalists present their product to a panel of experts and the winner is announced.

Last year’s winners, The Brothers Green, aka Brad Lake and Brendon McIntosh, won the 2018 FoodStarter competition. More than 98,000 of their Green Hempy Bars are now in production, along with hemp clothing and skincare ranges.
Foodstuffs Chief Executive Steve Anderson said it was exciting to see innovative, small-scale companies like The Brothers Green getting their products on supermarket shelves. What often holds entrepreneurs back is access to expertise, R&D and barriers to market; FoodStarter helps remove these barriers.

“Winning products are not just born in big companies – it’s innovative entrepreneurs and small businesses like The Brothers Green who often disrupt the norm by using raw products in ways which can have major success,” Anderson says.
To be eligible, entrants must be an individual entrepreneur or small business with an innovative food or beverage product. Entrants can come from anywhere in New Zealand, but the winner must be willing to take full advantage of the Canterbury-based acceleration prize package.

Last year’s top five ‘Pressure Cooker’ finalists were Fernglen Limited, The Brothers Green, The Kasundi Project, Ento, and Empire Coffee.




A Sustainable Hempire

“Hemp seeds are safe to eat, nutritious, and do not have a psychoactive effect,” said Food Safety Minister, the Honourable Damien O’Connor, in a Beehive press release in November 2018, regarding changes made to the regulations controlling the production and sale of hemp seed food products.



This was no surprise to those who know the history and benefits of the plant that US President George Washington wanted “planted everywhere”. And good news to those on the cutting edge of an imminent revolution. One such revolutionary is Pharmacist Brendon McIntosh, Kaiwhakahaere of Plant Based NZ, the parent body of several brands with a growing inventory.

During post-graduate studies into nutritional and environmental medicines, Brendon was introduced to the benefits of hemp as a food source and the base of a multitude of products. After his studies concluded, he teamed up with Brad Lake, whose background is in rural banking. He’s seen firsthand the evolution and the limitations of the agriculture industry in New Zealand. He also recognises what the future will look like.

“Synthetic foods coming through, transition to plant-based diets, people moving away from high-animal-product diets; New Zealand needs to be prepared. We can’t pretend what we’ve been doing for the last hundred years is going to work for the next hundred years.”

Initially, Brendon and Brad sold hemp seed oil and protein powders at local markets. Under the banner of ‘The Brothers Green’, they are now available in New World supermarkets. A range of hemp seed-based skincare products is available nationwide in pharmacies, under the brand ‘Kōaka’, which loosely translates into ‘hemp’ in Te Reo Māori.


Hemp fibre has been widely used for a variety of products for thousands of years – paper, jewellery, rope and sails in the age of sailing ships, animal bedding, building materials, and latterly in the production of cars, biofuels, purification systems, and, of course, clothing.

The addition of an apparel line was a natural progression for company. Enter Sustainable Fashion Designer Eden Sloss. “Hemp is the most sustainable crop. It’s the strongest natural fibre we can grow for textiles,” she says.

The ‘Original Canvas’ brand is Eden’s baby. Short and long sleeve tees and hoodies so far, expansion is guaranteed. She’s been to China (the largest producer of hemp fabrics) recently, sourcing ethically grown and produced materials; a catalogue is in production and more retail outlets are buying into the ethos that sustainable is the way of the future.


“We’re trying to make it more accessible,” she says, “because there is demand and it’s growing”. Check out @originalcanvas_nz on Instagram.

Winning the Foodstarter Award, a competition to find New Zealand’s most innovative food product, driven primarily by Foodstuffs South Island and The Ministry of Awesome, has allowed The Brothers Green to take the business to the next level. The industry expertise and promotion from the award will see the launch of the Hempy Bar, a healthy hemp-based snack bar for kids. Watch New World supermarkets for that in September.

Brendon, Eden, Brad and the team are on the cusp of a hemp-based revolution and it’s about to explode. “We’re building a sustainable hempire,” Eden says.