Big boost for local grocery innovators

Big boost for local grocery innovators

The results are in! Two of New Zealand’s most exciting new FMCG businesses have won the inaugural Foodstuffs Emerging Supplier competition.

Following a thrilling final at Foodstuffs North Island’s Support Centre in Māngere, that saw 10 finalists pitch their innovative products in front of a judging panel of industry leaders, Solid was announced winner of the start-up category winner, while Herbivore was the small supplier category winner.

•        Solid – sustainable plastic free toothpaste in a jar and toothpaste tablets.

•        Herbivore – premium plant-based butter made from natural coconut.

The winners will now work alongside Foodstuffs and industry mentors and embark on a journey that will take them from small beginnings to New World shelves across Aotearoa.

Top innovators Herbivore team with product and award

Adam McConnochie from Solid says he’s grateful to have customers that have supported them on its journey so far and believe in the kaupapa of Solid.

“We believe we can do things differently and more sustainably, so it’s cool Foodstuffs is prepared to back us. The bigger we are, the greater impact we can make, it’s about showing what’s possible and how sustainability can go hand in hand with innovation and business growth.”

After being shortlisted from over a hundred applicants, the 10 finalists had a few weeks to refine their pitches.

The final event gave each company the opportunity to share their product and give insight into the passion and drive that has brought them this far, all before a panel of Foodstuffs and industry judges, including Foodstuffs North Island CE, Chris Quin and Foodstuffs South Island CE, Mary Devine.

Chris Quin, one of the Emerge judges says the competition is all about the ‘eureka’ moments that come from discovering a new product customers will love.

“Every year we put over 9,000 new products onto our shelves. As 100% locally owned and operated co-ops we’re committed to championing home-grown innovation and creating an ecosystem that gives New Zealand grocery creators the support they need to succeed.

“Our vision for Foodstuffs Emerge is for the competition to become New Zealand’s leading grocery innovation platform and help launch exciting new products from the country’s most creative and passionate FMCG entrepreneurs.

“Seeing their product grow on supermarket shelves is the ultimate goal of every grocery entrepreneur. Our winners will receive expert guidance and comprehensive wrap around support at every stage of the product development journey to achieve that milestone.” 

Craig Brown from Herbivore says at Herbivore we believe in a world where butter grows on trees. 

“We’re so grateful for Foodstuffs running such a special event to celebrate emerging businesses. We’re pushing forward into traditional categories and to have Foodstuffs support us shows their true commitment to sustainability and innovation.

“We think Herbivore is the best butter on the planet for the planet.”

As part of the criteria for the competition, entrants had to demonstrate not only how their new product was something that customers would both need and want to buy, but how sustainability was a core tenant of the product’s story and future development.

Mary Devine Foodstuffs South Island CEO and Emerge judge, says both winners impressed the judges with the exciting way they had used innovation and sustainability to create new opportunities.

“Foodstuffs Emerge helps to shine a light on the brilliance of NZ’s entrepreneurs, particularly when it comes to how they each considered sustainability at every stage of their development process,” she says.

“All 10 finalists really impressed us with their unique approaches to sustainability, whether that was through waste reduction, ethical ingredient sourcing or using packaging that can be reused and recycled. This competition really demonstrated that innovation is about much more than just what goes inside the packaging.

“While we could only pick two winners, all our finalists are now part of the inaugural Foodstuffs Emerge alumni. Just by making it to the finals, everyone is a winner, and our hope is that for all our finalists this is just the start of their relationship with us.”

“We’ve always known New Zealand is a hotbed for FMCG creativity, and what we’ve seen tonight proves this.”

Solid and Herbivore both received a comprehensive prize package worth $70,000 that includes media support, tailored in-store activations, supply chain guidance, strategic workshops, sustainability consultations, and more.

The two winners have a busy road ahead, as they begin to scale up their operations and product. They will soon be meeting with Foodstuffs category managers to begin sharpening up their strategies and ensuring their products launch with a resounding bang.

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