It took this Raglan couple six years to develop their dairy-free (and award-winning) coconut kefir
A Raglan couple developed an alternative idea over six years. Their dairy-free idea, now fermented, won the Drinks category at the 2021 Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards.
There’s no stopping Mr and Mrs Coconut, aka Tesh Randall and Seb Walter, from Raglan Food Co. Their fermented coconut milk kefir won over the judges for its “clear and creamy appearance and beautiful coconut aroma”.
The couple’s flavour ideas were developed initially by a Russian food technologist who grew up drinking kefir, a fermented milk drink. “For the following two years, we refined the product, holding weekly sensory panels to taste the previous week’s production batches,” explains Tesh.
The business originated because of Seb’s allergy to milk; Tesh began making coconut yoghurt in their kitchen. Now they make a range of yoghurts and drinks.
Despite delays caused by Covid-19, Raglan Food Co recently moved into a new purpose-built factory, and now the couple has plans for new products, some not coconut-based.
While quality has been a driving force behind the business, Tesh and Seb’s dedication to sustainability and zero waste has earned them national recognition. In 2020, they won the Outstanding Sustainability award in the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards.
This year, too, the judges acknowledged their effort and recognized how sustainability is integrated into everything they do. Raglan Food Co is carbo-zero certified, and Tesh and Seb are proud of becoming a Certified B Corporation (a business recognized for balancing purpose and profit) this year.
“Part of that process involved a close look at all the ways we treat others, and we are proud of all the initiatives.” This includes living-wage certification and offering a profit-share programme and a health and wellbeing fund for staff.
About the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards
The winners of the fifth Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards make some of the most delicious food ever tasted. Salute the medallists and winners and support them by buying their gourmet treats.
Paddock: Mixed Box Beef & Lamb, Homegrown, Wairarapa
Dairy: Mascarpone, ViaVio Cheese, Nelson
Water: Pāua, Tora Collective, South Wairarapa
Earth: Black Doris Plums in Pinot Noir, Augustines of Central, Central Otago
Drink: Natural Coconut Kefir Drinking Yoghurt, Raglan Food Co, Raglan
Find the the full list of winners and medallists here.