A Match Made In Kitchens: Gregg’s and Holst

In Alison Holst, Alison's Choice Wholefoods, Cookery books, Diamond Pasta, Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, Gee Oh Gee drink, Gregg & Co, Gregg's, Gregg's jelly crystals, Instant Desserts, Instant Drinks, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, Seameal pudding, Timaru Milling Co, Trigon oven bags on October 2, 2013 at 10.46

Gregg's - Alison Holst - Meals In Minutes recipe pamphlet late 1960s - instant pudding EDIT more copy

One of six colour product/recipe DLs that comprised Alison Holst’s “Meals In a Minute”, all featuring a Gregg’s product of the early 1970s.


Here we have two of New Zealand’s greatest food icons together; Gregg’s instant pudding and Alison Holst. Well actually, it’s debatable whether the pudding is actual food, come to think of it. I’ve already elucidated on my family’s opinions on the former here; my grandmother highly disapproved, and my mother insisted on making her own bizarre version – yet both kept the Gregg’s one in the cupboard for occasional use (why, I don’t know).

Gregg's instant pudding five pairs LIME CHOCOLATE wm copy

Note: Due to repetitive theft by those who take my intellectual property from this blog without my permission, and reproduce it as merchandise for sale on sites such as Ebay, Redbubble and Trade Me,  I have now watermarked this image. If you are interested in purchasing merch of this image you can head to my personal Redbubble store.

Anyway, let’s call it as it is – they were disgusting, in particular I remember the orange one was gross. Maybe they’ve improved now since they are still being produced today with the (pretension to) more gourmet-style flavours like Dark chocolate mousse, Banoffee, Choc-a -lot with choc chips, Strawberry swirl smoothie, Choco-fudge, and Vanilla creme.

Gregg's instant pudding five pairs CARAMEL RASPBERRY wm copy

All of these Gregg’s instant pudding boxes date from the late 1970s and were digitally recreated from just one jaffa flavour box (below left).


Gregg's instant pudding five pairs JAFFA LEMON wmj copy

It is ironic that a product designed to be so cursory in its creation has stood longer than so many others. The earliest record I have for this Gregg’s product is “instant milk puddings” of the 1930s, being produced in tandem with that eighty year old classic Seameal, a dessert that has also truly stood the test of time – as I was amazed recently to find out is still being produced today (rather like Bushell’s essence of coffee and chicory, I am not really sure who buys it, or why – but someone must). And they went from strength to strength; the range of flavours growing every decade from there and probably peaking in the 1980s. Now the range is pretty small in comparison to times gone by and definitely reflects changing tastes, or rather – those dictated.

Gregg's instant pudding five pairs ORANGE COCONUT wm copy

Like the lifespan of the Gregg’s product under discussion here, the other topic of this post has also gone the distance and more. In a career that has lasted nearly fifty years as a celebrity chef in New Zealand, Alison Holst (now Dame, thank you very much) has issued about 100 cookbooks, her first was the best-selling “Cooking with Alison Holst: Here’s How” published in 1966 a year after she started appearing on her own television show. Probably the fact that TV was pretty much in its infancy and she didn’t have a lot of competition bar Graham Kerr, had something to do with her astounding success.

Gregg's instant pudding five pairs VANILLA STRAWBERRY wm copy

That said, she may have been around for half a century – but except that I know she had some kind of pikelet mix in the 1980s and 90s, I’ve never really paid that much attention to her to be honest. All I know is that she’s tall, affable and not very drunk on television. So basically a sober Julia Child, which is kind of boring. In her article here, Aimie Cronin makes it out a number of times, to be extraordinary that Holst, for all her success and bigcheesery (yes, that is a word, because I say) is just so…pedestrian. When in fact, as well all know – in reality there’s nothing exciting about being dull and humble .

Woman's Weekly Dec 3 1973 - TRIGON GIANT ROASTIN' BAGS ALISON HOLST    (6)

One of Alison Holst’s adverts from her Trigon endorsement, Woman’s Weekly magazine, December 1973.


On the up side, it can be respected that at least she’s not some vapid attention seeking fiend who got famous and built her brand off a reality show. Holst has a solid academic grounding having graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Home Science, then studied teaching before she began lecturing in the Foods Department at the School of Home Science; all of this before stardom came around. Finally in 1997 she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from Otago University.

Meals With The Family 1967 - Here's How 1966 - by Alison Holst  copy

Alison Holst’s first best-seller “Here’s How” (1966) at left, and her second book on the right “Meals With the Family” (1967). She has since published almost one hundred titles.


At this point in time – she’s now 75 years old – her cookbook sales have surpassed four and a half million units and her business continues to thrive with her Alison’s Choice line of wholefoods – a range she has had on the market through Foodstuffs NZ Ltd (Four Square, PAK’nSAVE, Pam’s, etc) since 1994. In addition she now has a mail order business , Alison Holst Online selling her books, knife sets, cookware and accessories with son Simon (whom she has co-authored several tomes with).

Woman's Weekly Dec 3 1973 - - GREGG'S JELLY CRYSTALS - ALISON HOLST edit copy

One of Alison Holst’s adverts from her W. Gregg & Co endorsement, also from Woman’s Weekly magazine, December 1973.


These boxes are from the 1970s, and in fact I only had the Jaffa one – and made the rest following the list of flavours in my database as a guide to recreate the whole range (if anything is missing, please let me know). The pudding recipe ephemera was part a set of six glossy DL-shaped slips in bright colours that were issued in a paper sheath as “Meals in Minutes” compliments of Gregg’s, and featured six different products they were producing at the time – including a drink called Gee Oh Gee which I don’t recall at all but apparently was around at least ten years. It’s an unusual format and was perhaps slipped in a magazine like Woman’s Weekly as a giveaway promo, or maybe into one of Alison’s cookbooks – it’s hard to tell what it’s exact purpose was. During this period Holst also endorsed Diamond products (pasta by the Timaru Milling Co.) and Trigon range of oven bags and the like. The same publicity shots were used for other Gregg’s ads in 1973 so that and the swingin’ fonts used are a pretty good indication of date.




All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2013. All rights reserved.

  1. Hello Darian, could you please contact me via email as I have come across a collection of old tins I’m sure you will be interested in.

  2. […] on the front. This had disappeared by the time I would have started eating it as a toddler in the late 1970s, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it was probably still there in tiny print on the back. Who […]

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