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Everything Vegan About Cookie Time NZ

To celebrate their 40th birthday, Cookie Time released an exciting new product - Cookie Time Cookie Sandwiches! There are two flavours in the range and one is 100% vegan - the Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie Sandwich (vegan chocolate coconut ice cream sandwiched in-between two vegan cookies).


I have tried one (or more accurately, ten) of these new cookie sandwiches and I love them, they are a refreshing change from the other ready-made vegan desserts us vegans have access to.


Cookie Time makes several other vegan products including:

  • The Original™ Plant Based Chocolate Chunk Cookie (in two sizes)

  • Chocalicious Bite-size Cookies

  • OSM Kids Snack Bars

  • OSM Kids Choccy Block

  • OSM Kids Vanilla Confetti

  • OSM Everyday Nutrition Bars:

  • Salted Maple Ancient Grain & Seed

  • Crunchy Peanut Butter

  • Blueberry & Blackcurrant

  • OSM Everyday Nutrition Bites:

  • Salted Maple Ancient Grain & Seed

  • Crunchy Peanut Butter

  • Blueberry & Blackcurrant

Note: The OSM All-Terrain Nutrition range contains honey so is not vegan-friendly.

The increase in vegan-friendly Cookie Time products that we've seen over the past few years isn't accidental. In fact, we have a cookie-loving vegan man (and his whānau) to thank!


The man I'm referring to is Guy Pope-Mayell, the Co-Founder of Cookie Time who I had the absolute pleasure of talking to. Read the interview below.



Meet the Co-Founder of Cookie Time

(spoiler alert – he’s vegan!)


Tara (me, the wāhine behind A Guide to Vegan): What inspired the creation of Cookie Time?


Guy: I come from an entrepreneurial family and my brother Michael, and I had a shared desire to start a business. In the 1980s, cookies were popular in the US but not really a thing in New Zealand. So, Cookie Time was launched in 1983, focused on homestyle cookies made with real ingredients and generous chunks of chocolate with a softer chewy texture to create a real moment of leisurely indulgence. As opposed to the average biscuit, which is generally thin, hard and a quick eat.


Tara: Many people will be surprised to find out that the Co-Founder of Cookie Time is vegan – what inspired you to become vegan?


Guy: My wife Suzanne and I have been vegan for about seven years. We were inspired by our daughter, who lives in Melbourne. When she used to come home for visits, we would go vegan whilst she was with us. From this and exploring further, we felt vegan was the obvious choice for us going forward, for animal rights, health, and environmental benefits.


Tara’s 2 cents: Is this not the sweetest thing? I would implode from sheer happiness If my dad became vegan!


Tara: Can you tell us more about how going vegan impacted the way you run Cookie Time?


Guy: Cookie Time is a legacy business based on using real pantry ingredients, so what we have been doing is bringing a vegan lens to that and looking to adjust recipes and develop vegan options going forward with new product formats and flavours.


We want to be part of the solution, and over the past five years, we’ve developed a number of vegan products, including a plant-based version of our famous Original™ Chocolate Chunk Cookie, a mini version of this for Air New Zealand, and plant-based Christmas Cookies.


Our latest product, the Cookie Time Cookie Sandwich, is a great example of this approach. In developing this take on the traditional ice cream sandwich, it was important to us we launched with two flavours, one being vegan. Feedback for the plant-based Chocolate Sandwich, with chocolate coconut cream filling, has been overwhelmingly positive.


Fun fact: The biscuit in the Original™ Chocolate Chunk Cookie Sandwich is vegan too, it’s just the ice cream that isn’t.


Tara: Do we vegans have you (and your whānau) to thank for the increasing number of vegan-friendly Cookie Time products?


Guy: Yes vegan options are top of mind in our new product innovation, both within Cookie Time and with our other brands such as OSM. Both OSM Everyday Nutrition and OSM Kids ranges are plant-based. Our vegan lens also extends to our own stores, the Cookie Bars in New Zealand and Tokyo, where the Double Chocolate Vegan Cookie is a customer favourite, whether you’re vegan or not.


Tara: How well do the vegan-friendly Cookie Time products sell?


Guy: I’d say vegan is a recipe for change but not necessarily for success. A few years ago, we launched an amazing Craft Bar product which was plant-based and absolutely delicious, but that didn’t get the pickup it needed to be viable. Having said that, we are committed to the vegan journey.


Taste is the key driver, as we want all our products to taste as fantastic as possible. And we want people to sample and enjoy our plant-based products on the merits of flavour not just ingredients. In fact, we have found promoting products as vegan can be a turn off for some consumers. Whereas they will very happily eat a cookie based on fantastic taste and then be surprised it is vegan. In this way I believe we’re also doing a valuable job in educating people that vegan does not equal taste free!


I’d also note that for our main product ranges, retailers are the gatekeeper in terms of getting vegan products in-store. They have to be sold on taste and brought along on the vegan journey.


Tara: What’s your favourite vegan Cookie Time product?


Guy: Up to a few weeks ago it was the Double Chocolate Vegan Cookie from our Cookie Bars. But my new favourite is our brand-new Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie Sandwich, now available in Streets freezers nationwide.


Tara: Do you think we’ll see more vegan-friendly Cookie Time products in the future and do you have any teasers for us?


Guy: Certainly, the vegan lens is firmly in place for the future, and we bring this to every new product we develop. As we see success with our vegan products this informs us of the next steps. Watch this space!


Tara: Is there anything you want to say to the vegan community?


Guy: It’s wonderful to see this community growing in size and more people taking a step in this direction with the likes of ‘meatless Mondays’ or other ways to incorporate more plant-based options into their everyday diets. Food manufacturers are also becoming more vegan-friendly over time. Whether people chose vegan because it’s better for animals, better for your health or better for the environment, we see the vegan community playing its part in making it a better world to live in.



 

What an absolute delight of a human! I loved chatting with Guy, and I hope you enjoyed reading this interview with the man behind the vegan cookies we’ve all been demolishing.


My key takeaway message from talking to Guy is that if we want more vegan products, we need to support the ones already available. In other words, when in doubt, the answer is always yes, I do need a Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie Sandwich today!



Have you tried the new Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie Sandwich?

  • Yes and I loved it!

  • Yes and it wasn't my thing.

  • No but I've been keeping an eye out.

  • No and I don't want to.









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