Kings Seeds is on a mission to challenge Kiwi businesses to improve lunchtime nutrition in the workplace. They’re encouraging them to grow their own nutrient rich microgreens and sprouts in the office to help improve staff health, happiness and productivity.
Pictured: Holly Jones adds sprouts grown in the office to her lunch.
Kings Seeds adopted 2nd of November as Healthy Eating Day as a way to get businesses talking about staff productivity in a different way. Although typically not a consideration when it comes to employee workplace performance, food actually plays a big part. A recent article in Harvard Business Review* refers to a study published in July 2014 British Journal of Health Psychology that indicates that what you eat, especially for lunch, affects your productivity and mood. The outcome was that the more vegetables and fruits people consumed the happier, more engaged, and more creative they tended to be.
Barbara Martin, co-owner of Kings Seeds, said; “Microgreens and sprouts are just one small part of the bigger picture, but like anything you have to start somewhere. They are a nutritious, low cost, easy option for businesses to demonstrate to staff that their health and wellbeing is important to them.”
“So many of us spend the bulk of our day at work, we’re often sedentary and that can lead to poor food choices. The desire to have an easy high fat, high sugar or high carb lunch (or no lunch at all) sometimes overrides the need to choose healthier options. Offering something as simple as microgreens and sprouts for staff can be a start in creating a more productive workplace.”
Barbara adds; “When they are available close to hand in the office, it becomes an easy decision for employees to quickly add extra nutrition (and flavour) to their daily lunches and snacks.”
To get the ball rolling and collect some valuable feedback, Kings Seeds recruited two Auckland offices to take part in a ‘Growing Green Trial’. Each was sent a ‘Seeds for Sprouting Starter Kit’ along with a ‘Microgreens Starter Kit’ from Kings Seeds, which included everything they needed to get sowing and growing.
Extra Mile Company, a leading incentive company took part in the trial. CEO, Eugene DeVilliers, said; “We jumped at the opportunity to put into practice one of our corporate values and that is supporting staff health and wellness. Each week we do a shared team lunch (different teams cook), and staff took up the challenge with enthusiasm to include the office grown microgreens and sprouts into each week’s meal”.
DeVilliers adds; “I think watching them grow in the office made all of us more aware of what we are putting into our mouths and how easy it is to make healthy lunch choices and that’s got to be a good thing!”
MOVIO, an innovative global leader in marketing data analytics for the film industry, were also delighted to take part in the trial. The organisation is already committed to offering positive wellbeing choices to staff, such as fresh fruit, weekly yoga classes and a running club.
Callie Ewin, Talent Manager, People & Culture for MOVIO said; “We are a relatively healthy company and are always open to trying new things – particularly if it contributes to staff wellness! Our team loved the microgreens; we left a pair of scissors next to them so everyone could simply help themselves. Staff would put them in sandwiches, on their salads, add to their soups, etc. The sprouts were equally as popular, and staff would often just take a handful as a snack. They also added a nice bit of greenery to the office, and made for a great talking point around the kitchen bench. It’s a brilliant initiative and something that will help improve the wellness of our staff. We plan to keep growing the sprouts, especially with summer just around the corner. Plus, they’re the perfect addition to the MOVIO monthly BBQ!”
Although they are small on size, microgreens are packed with nutrients and flavour, and international research supports this. According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, microgreens can contain anywhere from four to six times more nutrients than mature greens (including vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene). Even easier to grow are sprouts in jars which add crunch and taste and can nutritionally offer vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein to lunches or snacks.