There's a new player in the growing food bag market – but this one promises to give a box to a family in need with every box sold.
Backed by Dancing with the Stars finalist and Kiwibank Hero of the Year Dave "Buttabean" Letele, the Fresh First food box launches in time for Matariki.
The occasion-led food boxes will be available on long weekends, holidays, and special occasions such as Father's Day and Christmas.
"The boxes are filled with food these families would not usually be able to afford so it's a way for them to celebrate and come together on special occasions like Matariki," Letele said.
"It's a flash food box, filled with goodies and we will give them out through our network to people of need."
Letele was in the thick of dance lessons when he met with Fresh First founder Mark Nelson and the pair agreed to work together to give back.
David Letele and Kristie Williams came third in Dancing with the Stars. Photo / Supplied
"I always want to work with companies who want to give back so we can get food to people in need without all the bureaucracy in the way," Letele said.
"This was perfect because it gives me a way to fund what we already do here with our BBM food share and it also gives back to our families in need."
The launch will see 500 food boxes available for purchase and another 500 delivered to families in need throughout Auckland.
The boxes are $179 but have more than $220 worth of food to feed a family of four for five days.
Nelson, whose company Fresh Media combines his background in food, business and media, said he was humbled to be working with Letele.
"I have been thinking about doing a food box for a while but we wanted to do one that promoted our awesome brands and that gave back.
"I want to grow my contribution and what we can give back to the community as the business grows."
Dave Letele from Buttabean Motivation hopes the new Fresh First food boxes will help fund his already established food share system in Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Nelson said the fact Letele already ran a successful foodbank out of a purpose-built facility in South Auckland made him the obvious choice.
Letele and his BBM team have already delivered thousands of food parcels to families in need since Covid hit. Letele was a New Zealand Herald 'Lockdown Hero' in 2020 for his work in the community.
Nelson said Letele was the obvious choice when he was looking for someone to work with.
"I know Dave is doing amazing things and I thought he would be the best-placed person to get boxes to the people who need them."
The Fresh First food boxes will be occasion-led to start with but the pair are also working on a regular low-cost food box.
"We know those special occasions like Matariki and other celebrations really hit people when they can't afford food to share as a family," Nelson said.
"We are starting with the buy one-gift one boxes for the special times but we are also working on a low-cost food box that offers something different."
Rather than recipe cards, the food boxes come with fun video clips that the pair hope will get the whole family involved.
Letele said, "We are going to film videos on how to make these meals because we know at the moment there is a lot of knowledge not being passed down so we hope this will change that.
"It is a way to get families connecting and cooking together and sharing their knowledge."
The Matariki food boxes are in addition to the 300 food boxes Letele already provides to the in-need community each week.
"We have our families who need assistance each week and then we help the regular public as well," Letele said.
Dave Letele worked with police in Auckland throughout the pandemic to get food parcels to those in need. Photo / Supplied
Letele gets some assistance from the Ministry of Social Development and has strong relationships with delivery service Sherpa, New World, Countdown, Pak'nSave and Tegel but said "it is still a hustle".
"We are hoping this new partnership helps make what we do at BBM more sustainable."
There are 500 Fresh First food boxes available to order. They will be delivered to customers on Thursday, June 23, ahead of the first Matariki holiday. On the same day, 500 food boxes will be delivered and distributed through Buttabean Motivation foodbank.
- by Kirsty Wynnm, NZ Herald