Havelock North company Poesy is mixing yeast and Yeats.
Well, sort of. Poesy sells thin, oval, pizza-base-like breads with a poem in each packet.
The idea occurred to owners Alexandra Tylee and Chris Morris about two years ago while they were running their restaurant Pipi in Greytown.
"We thought there was a real gap in the market for a thin-based product. A thin-based product that people could top with what they liked," Mrs Tylee says.
Including poetry is an extension of the restaurant's philosophy.
"Things can happen in a restaurant that wouldn't happen in your home. It's a different environment. Different music is playing, and there are different people coming in than those who you'd normally talk to.
"It's like the poetry. The whole thing behind it is to get poetry out to people who wouldn't read it."
They began making Poesy bread after moving themselves and Pipi to Havelock North, soon identifying supermarkets as the product's natural sales channel.
"Everyone said, `You'll never get into the supermarkets'. The thing was never taking no for an answer."
It was often a long process involving meetings with head office and much form-filling, but the couple persevered and today Poesy sells for about $6 at 96 outlets around the country, most part of the Foodstuffs group.
Mr Morris says the poems were well received by supermarket owners and operators. "You'd be surprised by how many New World operators are into poetry."
The poems are from published and unpublished poets. Inspired Pipi patrons can submit verses on the back of menus. Three such poems, all by children, have since been slipped into the bread packets.
Mrs Tylee and Mr Morris are now selling a tomato sauce to accompany the bread.
The bread is made at a bakery in Masterton, and the company has employed Rothford Food Brokers to help liaison with supermarket managers.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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