Footy mates kick food goals

17 Nov, 2015 04:00 AM
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Thomas Foods Kitchen founders Bruce Lennon, Darren Thomas and Simon Dennis are offering fresh, locally sourced ingredients to produce gourmet meals.
Thomas Foods Kitchen founders Bruce Lennon, Darren Thomas and Simon Dennis are offering fresh, locally sourced ingredients to produce gourmet meals.

MEAT giant Thomas Foods International exports to more than 80 countries but its latest venture is helping Australian consumers produce restaurant-quality meals at home.

The nation's largest family-owned meat processor will use its significant packaging and distribution network to home-deliver fresh, locally-sourced ingredients in pre-proportioned sizes.

Thomas Farms Kitchen, which launched recently in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, is the brainchild of Bruce Lennon and Simon Dennis along with TFI chief executive Darren Thomas -mates who met playing for the Sturt Football Club.

The enterprising trio also have Brisbane, Perth and Darwin in their sights, hoping to deliver 1000 meals a week in each of these capital cities within the first year.

Executive director Simon Dennis said studying global trends gave them the idea to develop online meal solutions.

"We wanted to change the way people thought about cooking from 'what's for dinner tonight?' to 'what can we create? and really make it a good experience'," he said.

"People are a lot more aware of where their food comes from and are looking for convenience."

Mr Dennis hopes their point of difference with competitors will be the wide range of meals customers can choose from rather than one meal option a day.

Thomas Farms Kitchen's website will have 11 original meals a week to choose from: three red meat, three chicken and pork, three vegetarian and two seafood. The ingredients also come with recipe cards prepared by Thomas Farms Kitchen's in-house chef.

Among the first week's gourmet dishes were pork and lychee vindaloo, warm chicken and freekeh salad, seared beef and noodle salad, and a prawn pancake with soy sauce.

"We are giving them options to choose from a huge range of fresh produce every week to cook meals in under 30 minutes, and it is all dropped to their door," Mr Dennis said.

Another vision for Thomas Farms Kitchen is to give producers with regional brands an opportunity to connect with customers.

Each fortnight they will showcase a new regional meal, with the first Bultarra Australian Saltbush Lamb from the Flinders Ranges.

Mr Dennis hopes Australian food producers will use Thomas Farms Kitchen as "a soapbox" to promote their brands and wants to hear from others.

"We want Australians to taste clean and green food from all different regions," he said.

"It gives people the opportunity to experience food from regions they would not normally go to and taste themselves."

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    Catherine Miller

    Catherine Miller

    is Stock Journal's livestock editor and South East correspondent

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