WoW - Prolife Foods

WoW - Prolife Foods

Starting out

Prolife Foods is a privately owned, NZ Food company that now operates in the New Zealand, Australian and increasingly international markets.

It was founded in 1984 by Bernie and Kaye Crosby and is still true to its purpose of "Providing Great Food with Obsessive Service".

Our New Zealand operation is proudly based in Te Rapa, Hamilton in the middle of the green Waikato.  At this site we have our procurement, marketing, customer services, and manufacturing and distribution facilities. In 2014 a factory was also commissioned and built in Altona, Melbourne to service the growing Australasian customer base.

Prolife Foods ‘War on Waste’ – born in early 2015, our ‘War on Waste’ (WoW) initiative is aimed at ensuring we continue to use sustainable business methods to the best of our ability, but more importantly to provided a platform for our people to engage in identifying opportunities for, and actioning waste reduction in our business (and potentially out into their communities & family lives).

To launch ‘WoW’ and get our people thinking about our internal waste streams our 2015 annual celebration event was themed a ‘World of Wearable Waste’ fashion show. Staff were invited to get their creative juices flowing & fashion costumes out of our various waste products – their response was overwhelming with a very high level of engagement throughout the organisation, the costumes were spectacular … many of which took months to create.


Benchmarks of success

After the successful launch of our War on Waste (WoW), team engagement has remained high with many ideas and suggestions for reducing or managing waste coming from throughout the organisation.

Key focus areas & initiatives that were suggested and are underway:


  • Operations excellence project to reduce waste from production lines
  • Recycling initiatives to reduce waste volume and the quantity that goes to landfill. Aligning with the team from EnviroWaste has been critical in driving these initiatives

Corporate Services

  • Paper management programme including photocopier enhancements
  • Paperless meetings, electronic information exchange
  • Upgrading vehicle fleet to be more sustainable with Volkswagen with higher fuel efficiency and low emissions
  • Introduction of recycling bins throughout. (


  • Field Force Mobility (tablet/software) roll out
  • Paperless processes – indents, credits


So, is WoW working? The proof is in the pudding! Here are some examples:


  • Production food waste has decreased by 14 tonne per annum to date
  • Waste collection reduced from ‘twice a day plus’ to once a week resulting in 19 less truck movements a week! It has also significantly improved the value of the recycling waste to the organisation, helping to fund other WoW initiatives.
  • Installed energy efficient lighting throughout the warehouse
  • Installed motion sensor lights to reduce power consumption in warehouse areas
  • Mini forklifts are electric powered
  • Improved order packing has significantly reduced the use of ‘shrink wrap’.

Corporate Services

  • Desk-side paper recycling in head office has halved since pin printing was introduced.
  • Changing cups in staff areas has removed many thousands of non degradable cups from environment
  • Introduction of organics, recycling, paper & landfill bins throughout has seen significantly improved staff awareness and has at this early stage resulted in a 1.5T reduction of waste to landfill!


  • The rolling out of software and tablets to the business has already resulted in a reduction of printing/paper usage of approximately 20,000 pages per month as information is managed digitally.
  • Indent order accuracy using the tablets for electronic ordering has reduced errors to close to zero, very significantly reducing rework (and more importantly improving consumer satisfaction).


Next steps

Our staff continue to contribute & respond positively to the programmes and policies that have been put into action so far.

The challenge is now to sustain the teams’ enthusiasm and keep the ‘WoW’ movement growing.

Communication is paramount - the War on Waste continues to be discussed at team and staff meetings to help us identify further waste reduction opportunities in our business.

We are in the process of improving how we communicate the positive steps / results we have achieved through this process – frequent updates (in the form of infographics) on staff notice boards along with hints, ideas & suggestions on how the how to reduce waste & save money at home are in the process of being implemented.


‘Mother Earth’ supports the ‘Soft Plastics Recycling’ initiative – a new initiative to introduce recycling bins so that shoppers can take back their used soft plastic bags to supermarkets and retail premises.

The new project will take all soft plastic bags including bread bags, frozen food bags, toilet paper packaging, confectionery and biscuit wrap, chip bags, pasta and rice bags, courier envelopes, shopping bags, sanitary hygiene packaging - basically anything made of plastic which can be scrunched into a ball.

Customers can bring their used soft plastics back to store and put them in the recycling bin. This will be collected from store by REDcycle who also run the programme in Australia. Initially the materials will be sent back to Australia where they are made into park benches and fitness circuits for playgrounds until there are facilities in NZ such as those planned at Astron Plastics that can process these products.

There is a great opportunity for even further partnering with our key suppliers & customers to further reduce waste, potentially create win win cost reductions, and benefit the environment – paperless transactions and information flow, more efficient supply chain solutions, and sharing of energy efficiency concepts are some examples.

Our War on Waste journey has well & truly begun & in recognition of our first year’s achievements we are repeating the World of Wearable Waste Fashion event, with a theme celebrating the diversity of our people, and where we are from. Once again all outfits will be manufactured using waste BUT this time including waste from home as well as from Prolife … recognising waste reduction is all of our responsibilities (business, community, and personal).


Key Objective

To ensure we continue to use sustainable business methods to the best of our ability, but more importantly to provide a platform for our people to engage in identifying opportunities for, and actioning waste reduction in our business.

"The WoW initiative has really resonated with the Prolife Foods team, with high levels of genuine engagement. It has enhanced the already positive culture within our business and interestingly, has had the almost unintended consequence of us all learning much more about each other"

Ian Jackson, GM Self Selection