Jarrod Robinson explains how family traditions, innovation and a passion for culture and food all come together in his role as New Product Development Manager at Kono.
As New Product Development Manager for Kono, Jarrod Robinson is responsible for the coordination process from idea through to a commercial food or beverage product. “Together we strive to sustainably add value to our primary resources from Te Tau Ihu, the top of the South Island,” says Jarrod.
Jarrod describes himself as a conceptual thinker and a connector of people. “As a qualified food technologist my mind is full of ideas and being part of the Kono team allows me to utilise this strength. I admire how Kono invests in innovation programmes and new product development. Together we are continuously looking how to do better things and how to best utilise our resources. Really exciting stuff!”
His passion for his connection to the Nelson region is clear when he talks about his family’s background. “My ancestors were pioneers of fruit, fruit wine and juice making in New Zealand. Established in 1910, Robinson’s of Stoke was the first company to commercially produce 100 percent fruit juice for the New Zealand market. They continued to innovate and over the years new product lines were introduced. As the business expanded and changed, the original orchard made way for real estate development.”
One of his proudest moments at Kono was the commercialisation of Tutū Cider. “I was passed down the cider making method from my grandfather and father. To see the cider have a new lease of life, and witness it win awards on the local and international stage was truly rewarding.”
When he’s not at work, Jarrod is indulging in his other passion – travel. “I love to experience new environments and cultures. I’m drawn to indigenous cultures and to see how communities work and live together. We can all learn a lot from each other.” He and his husband, Drew, also love to host dinner parties. He describes his favourite go-to three-course dinner: “Glaze chicken nibbles with miso and honey to start. Flash fry scallops with chorizo and serve on risotto with sautéed vegetables for main. Then there is nothing like my mother-in-law’s Black Doris plum cheesecake with a gingernut base to finish off the meal!”
Jarrod says he was drawn to Kono because of its strong values and diversity of operations. “Coming from a family of innovators, the value of Hihiko resonates very strongly with me – curiosity and problem solving, always striving for improvement.”