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Kindness for staff during lockdown - the Raglan way

Staff wellbeing is a big focus for a Raglan food producer right now.

As a gesture to foster health and wellbeing, Raglan Food Co is supplying organic fruit boxes, fresh pressed juices and a large supply of Vitamin C in the workplace.

The Waikato business, which is not eligible for any Government wage subsidy, is also providing additional special paid leave entitlements for staff working through the lockdown.

Owner Tesh Randall says things are going ‘as well as can be expected’ with production of their famous dairy-free yoghurt continuing to meet supermarket demand, although their usual business operations are restricted.

“We are fortunate to be able to still run, but we have had to change a lot of things and put some new processes in place.”

The business took on five new workers just before the lockdown, bringing their total staff to 29 – all Raglan locals.

“It is a stressful time to be working so we are doing what we can to look after them.”

Staff are working in two spilt shifts, to minimise contact, with social distancing and contactless deliveries implemented to meet strict government food production rules. 

Their current factory is in the heart of Raglan’s town centre.   Construction of a new factory, three times the size, at an industrial estate on the town’s outskirts is on hold.   

Luckily, they were able to launch their new gourmet range before the lockdown.  And a supply of their key ingredient, large quantities of organically certified coconut cream from Indonesia, is stored at their Hamilton warehouse.

They have experienced some distribution challenges, like a delay in the delivery of glass jars.  There are also delays in shipping their products to their export markets in Hong Kong and Singapore and supplying restaurants and cafes.   

Raglan Food Co – formerly known as Raglan Coconut Yoghurt - has a massive following of more than 45,000 on Instagram and Facebook.  Tesh is doing a fun daily ‘lockdown challenge’ on Instagram Stories to keep connected with customers.

The business has experienced phenomenal growth since it started in 2014, literally from a small batch Tesh made for her partner, Seb Walker, who has a dairy intolerance. “It just took off, we spent a weekend making yoghurt for locals, and then shops wanted it, and it spiralled into a full business.  Very unplanned.”

Today the pair – dubbed Mr and Mrs Coconut - have grown the business to become one of Raglan’s biggest employers, and they have picked up numerous business awards along the way.  

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