With three children-ages two, five and seven-Anna Bordignon lives a chaotic life; but not too hectic to send her kids off to school with waste-free lunches that are natural, nutritious and healthy for the planet.
Bordignon is the founder of Munch, a homegrown business powered by nearly a dozen passionate mothers that aims to provide families with the best recipes and products for eating naturally and sustainably as well as encourage parents to think more about what they are feeding their children.
"Munch is a New Zealand company that makes and markets eco-friendly products around the kitchen," Bordignon says. "We also offer ideas about eco-friendly and healthy food options for children."
After working 80 hours a week as a commercial lawyer at her previous job, Bordignon was looking for a career where she could put her kids first. Munch Cooking originated with her first cookbook, Munch Seasonal Cookbook for Family and Baby, a best-seller that earned Gourmand International's title of "best kids cookbook".
Based in Wellington, Munch promotes a "motherhood workforce," offering flexible employment for moms working from home to accommodate their children's schedules.
"There's a lot of talented moms who want to spend time with their children and come from past lives in graphic design, in editorial-- all come from skilled backgrounds," says Bordignon. "They want work that they can do from home around their children."
Munch Cupboard offers products for sale online designed to reduce waste, such as reusable lunch boxes and Litter-less lunch wraps. The business also markets Munch-approved brands under the "Munch Loves" category, which includes food and drink as well as kitchen and baby products.
"You'll notice there's not many eco-focused, fun, well-designed products," Bordignon says. "I'm interested in materials that make up a product. A lot of the products that we make are as natural as we came make them."
For example, Munch is currently working on creating products with rice husk, a biodegradable fibre that in the past has been discarded as by-product. Also featuring innovative ingredients is Nil food wraps, a product currently offered for sale in Munch's online store made of organic cotton and beeswax.
"There's plenty of products that are throwaway products that are plastic--that don't break down for millions and trillions of years," says Bordignon. "We try and think, 'What can make that's going to last?'-or at least if it doesn't last, it will break down quickly and be better for the environment."
In addition to its online shop and recipe index, Munch catalogues the results of their annual awards where parents elect the best and worst in the food industry, from products and marketing campaigns to restaurant kids menus. In the second annual Munch Awards, over 2000 parents cast their votes.
"It's about raising awareness around food offerings for our children and celebrating those companies that are doing great things," Bordignon said. "But also, we do have some categories that draw attention to those that we think could be improved."
Munch also advocates for children and the environment by raising awareness about related issues, such as fighting for minimal food processing, fewer products made of disposable plastics, preservative-free foods and better labeling of foods.
The business is currently focusing on growing their product range and exporting goods to the U.S. and Canada.
Bordignon has also signed a deal with a book publisher for a second cookbook, which will debut next year. The book will feature Munch's eco-friendly products and focus on the best recipes for kid's lunches.
While Bordignon says she has always been interested in food, the driving force behind Munch is the need for healthy and easy recipes for families and ecologically responsible products in the food industry.
"When you have children, you do consider those bigger-picture things," Bordignon says.
To shop Munch products online, visit munchcupboard.com.