New venture about more than just peanut butter

Michael Hastie launches his Dunedin-produced peanut butter at the Otago Farmers Market this...
Michael Hastie launches his Dunedin-produced peanut butter at the Otago Farmers Market this weekend. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Dunedin builder Michael Hastie has gone nuts.

Mr Hastie has established Bay Road peanut butter, producing batches of the nutty spread from a commercial kitchen at the Musselburgh Baptist Church in Dunedin.

Launching at the Otago Farmers Market this weekend, his crunchy and smooth varieties were already available at some retail outlets in the city, and he hoped to set up a small factory in the near future.

For Mr Hastie, it was "not necessarily about the peanut butter", as he had always been interested in natural whole foods.

He was seeking to start a venture  he could do on his own without having to take out a large loan, and he  also wanted to do something  no-one else was doing in the city. After research, he came up with producing peanut butter. He was also keen to do something a little different with packaging.

Using glass jars of different sizes, he wanted to provide something to customers that became "an asset rather something that ends up in the landfill". People would get a discount if they returned the jars or they could also get them refilled.

The name Bay Road came from the road in Warrington on which Mr Hastie grew up, and it represented a happy, healthy childhood.

A New Zealand-made peanut butter machine, which turned the peanuts into peanut butter, could also deal with different types of nuts and he was looking at other products down the track, such as almond butter.

Learning how to make the spread was reasonably simple, given it only involved peanuts and a little Himalayan pink salt.

Peanuts were sourced from Australia and Argentina. There were different varieties of peanuts and certain types of fats in them created a better peanut butter, he said.Mr Hastie had spent about six months getting the project started. Working all day as a builder, it meant he had been working on Bay Road usually between 7pm and 10pm.

Throw into the mix an 18-month toddler and it had been a busy time, but he was looking forward to launching the product at the farmers market on Saturday.

It had been his main goal to get a stall there and, no matter where the business went in the future, it would be something he would always try to maintain to ensure engagement with the community.

The peanut butter was available at various outlets in the city, and several cafes were  using it.

"The great thing about Dunedin people is they love supporting Dunedin products," Mr Hastie said.

He hoped to set up a small factory within the next six months or so and his ultimate goal was to employ some local people.

If lots of small businesses took on one or two staff, then it would help to "take up the slack" from factory closures, such as Cadbury. Ideally, Bay Road would become a full-time job for him.

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