‘Amazing Race’ star peddles for Kiwi cookies
06 Mar 2009
Kiwi television star Phil Keoghan - host of reality series The Amazing Race - is about to embark on his most testing journey yet as he cycles from Los Angeles to New York to launch a New Zealand-developed health food bar.
A deal struck between Christchurch-born Keoghan and his home town snack-food company ‘Cookie Time’, has resulted in a multimillion-dollar expansion into the US market.
Keoghan, now based in Los Angeles, has signed on as the international face of Cookie Time’s ‘One Square Meal’ bar, soon to be stocked by a leading US health supplement chain.
Keoghan's involvement came after a discussion "over a beer in the Air New Zealand Koru Lounge" less than 12 months ago, Cookie Time general manager Lincoln Booth said.
International expansion had long been part of the company's plans, Booth said. The NZ$1m deal with General Nutrition Centre, a chain of 6500 stores, could grow to $25m.
The deal has already created 27 new jobs at Cookie Time's Christchurch factory. The company wants to keep production within New Zealand.
Further expansion was likely, but exporting other Cookie Time products was not, Booth said.
Keoghan was excited about launching a New Zealand product in the US, as the Cookie Time success story was "uniquely Kiwi".
A long-time fan of the One Square Meal, Keoghan describes the biscuit as the "go-to food" during his rigorous filming schedule. He first spotted the bar in Auckland three years ago, and since then he’s been taking it home to Los Angeles by the suitcase-load.
The biscuits contain rolled oats, dried fruits, New Zealand manuka honey, soy protein, vitamins and minerals required for a balanced meal.
7000km bike ride
Keoghan will launch One Square Meal, now part of his own ‘No Opportunity Wasted’ brand, with a 42-day bike ride from Los Angeles to New York starting in April.
The ride will cover a distance of 7000km, and Keoghan has been training back home in Christchurch, notching up 20 hours a week in the saddle.
Since a near-death experience at the age of 19, Keoghan has set out to live life to the full by accomplishing exotic goals and taking risks. He has already broken a world bungy jumping record, gone diving in the world's longest underwater caves, eaten a meal on top of an erupting volcano, and renewed his vows underwater while hand-feeding sharks.
No opportunity wasted
Keoghan started his career as a junior cameraman with Television New Zealand in the late '80s, and has won six Emmy awards for his work on The Amazing Race.
He has worked in 70 countries around the world as host, producer, writer and cameraman on more than 1,000 television episodes. The Amazing Race has filmed in New Zealand three times.
Keoghan has also created and currently hosts a new series called No Opportunity Wasted (also the title of his book) on the Discovery Channel. He says the show challenges others to live their dreams.
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