Founder Kaye van der Straten, who has a number of autoimmune diseases, had a strong incentive to find a diet that would promote healthy gut bacteria and boost her immune system.

She developed a range of delicious fermented goods that helped manage her conditions into remission and which set the culture for a successful local business to flourish.

Described as a “scientist by training and a foodie by inclination,” Kaye says the company has a clear vision “to help people feel good … from the inside out.”

Launched in 2016 with her partner Freddy Loov, the family-owned and operated businesses is comprised of a crew passionate about producing high-quality, delicious probiotic food and beverages. Recipe and flavour development are aided by Chef Linz Hart-MacDiarmid, who acts as a mentor and inspirer.

Kaye has drawn on her scientific knowledge and methods tweaked from Champagne and other industries to devise a Kombucha brewing technique that is unique to K4 – “no other company brews this way” she says. “K4 brews are 100% authentic ferments with no preservatives, additives, or shortcuts to the fermentation process”.

From the outset K4 has demonstrated a vision for growth.

Currently their products are sold in over 70 wholesale stockists across the North Island, two local market stalls, an online retail store delivering across the North Island, and the K4 Brewery door which is open for tasting and door sales in the Bay of Islands. Recognition has also been gained of all three of the K4 Kombucha Favours as finalists in the 2018 Inspire + NZ Artisan Awards.

K4 cultured foods ltd

Kaye and Freddy have a strong commitment to keeping the company located in Northland. While acknowledging the logistical challenges of working in the regions, such as access to markets and contract services, the pair say the Top Energy Business Development Fund will help to build production capacity and support other local businesses.

The priority is to increase the number of Northland employees from a part time role occupied by Master of Fermentation - Pete Lindgren-Streicher, to 3.5 full time staff by 2019. They will purchase bottling plant machinery locally and complete the K4 Brewery building refit work with a Kerikeri based construction company. Marketing will also place the K4 Brewery as a Northland Food & Beverage tourism destination with increased door sales.

Top Energy judges say they went with their gut when selecting this year’s winner.

Chief Executive Russell Shaw is amazed every year by the calibre and commitment of local businesses and entrepreneurs to maximise the talent and potential of the Far North.

“We have standout applications for our business development fund. As a community owned business, it is a privilege for Top Energy to assist in supporting local businesses to achieve success and growth.”

Top Energy launched their Business Development Fund in 2014. The scheme is designed to encourage and promote economic growth in the Far North. Grants of up to $30,000 are awarded twice a year for local business ideas or initiatives that have the potential to grow or diversify the Far North economy.

The money is either awarded in full to a single stand-out idea or in smaller amounts to several initiatives, depending on the number, quality and merit of the applications received.

For more information on K4 go to: www.k4you.nz

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