Winter, working from home arrangements increase Kooka's snacking

Donald's Kooka's Country Cookies thrives during coronavirus

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People are buying more Kooka's Country Cookies during the coronavirus lockdown.

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THE increase of people working - and eating - from home this year has had a positive flow-on effect for one Wimmera business.

The staff at Kooka's Country Cookies in Donald are flat-out, and production manager Luke Clark believes at-home snacking might be a factor.

Mr Clark said business at the Donald factory had been going well despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said there had been a slow-down in production of portion-control or individually wrapped biscuits that were usually found in hotels.

"People aren't going and staying in motels, so that basically stopped overnight," he said.

But he said there had been an increased demand for 200-gram and 500-gram packets, which had more than made up for the loss.

Mr Clark said the business had been running 90 hours a week for the past three months to keep up with the demand.

"We were doing 16-hour days - now they're 20-hour days," he said.

"We haven't had much stock in the shed for six months."

Panic-buying at the start of February led supermarkets to take whatever stock they could.

Mr Clark said people who were working from home were buying more biscuits than they normally might.

"They're looking for a snack food," he said. "That's a natural increase."

He said people also normally bought more as winter approached, and that had started earlier than usual this year.

"It's definitely bigger than this time last year," he said.

The demand has helped Kooka's keep its 22 casual and full-time employees.

But the business has had to make some changes to address coronavirus.

Staff now take staggered lunch breaks and smoko to avoid gatherings.

The site's office shop was closed early on in the pandemic and replaced with an honesty box.

Mr Clark said the business did not want to be handling cash from people who might have brought the virus from elsewhere.

He said gloves and office supplies were now more difficult to buy, but otherwise the business was mostly unaffected.

The work stations already met social distancing requirements.

Mr Clark said it was great the business could continue running during COVID-19.

He said the employment helped keep people in town.

Mr Clark said he there had also been support more broadly for many Australian businesses.

"I think it's good everyone's supporting Aussie-made," he said.

"We've definitely seen a lot of support on our Facebook page. People want to support local business."

The story Winter, working from home arrangements increase Kooka's snacking first appeared on The Wimmera Mail-Times.

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