CEO Chris Quin on the first floor of the new Support Centre.

After nearly six decades at its Mt Roskill home, Foodstuffs North Island (NI) is moving to a new purpose-built facility in Manukau. The new campus named Foodstuffs Landing Drive is nestled in parkland close to Auckland Airport and is currently New Zealand’s largest Distribution Centre (DC) and home to the country’s largest array of rooftop solar panels.

Combining the dry goods distribution, office workspace, events and people development functions onto one single campus for the New Zealand owned co-operative, Foodstuffs Landing Drive has been designed to support Foodstuffs’ aspiration to become one of the most customer driven retailers in the world.

“It’s been key to our plans for three years so it’s really exciting to see our new home come to fruition,” says Chris Quin, CEO Foodstuffs NI.

“Foodstuffs North Island has provided nearly 100 years of service to New Zealanders and absolutely everything about this integrated campus is centred around enabling our teams and partners to put our customers first and do the very best job they can now and in the long-term. As we saw in 2020, keeping our team and customers safe and products on shelf for New Zealanders is key.”

The campus environment is designed to be safe, dynamic and sustainable with plenty of spaces that encourage collaboration and flexible ways of working – all aspects which were front of mind when planning the future new home for what’s affectionally known as the “Foodies Family”.

Lindsay Rowles, General Manager of Membership and Property, Foodstuffs North Island says: “This location is absolutely perfect for us. With our fresh and chilled & frozen distribution centres close by, excellent transport links to all of Auckland and the Upper North Island, plus plenty of capacity built into the dry goods DC to accommodate future growth, Foodstuffs Landing Drive will make a huge contribution towards us meeting our customer promises and achieving our customer transformation plans.”

The campus took just over 20 months to build and despite the challenges throughout 2020, the buildings were handed over to Foodstuffs NI for fit-out three months early. The giant DC is the size of eight full sized rugby fields and has a circumference of 1.3km.

The DC brings together eight of the Upper North Island’s operations under one roof. The team have welcomed 50 new workmates, with the DC workforce now totalling 350 employees.

Equipped with the latest technology, design and safety features and additional capacity for future growth, the DC can hold up to 80,000 pallets and is equipped with the largest bank of semiautomated satellite racking in New Zealand, that holds 14,700 pallets and uses remote controlled pallet shuttles to handle pallets within the racking.

General Manager of People & Culture, Wendy Hammonds says, “It’s a beautiful building, full of amenity and a place our people, our co-operative members and our partners can look forward to coming to. We are ‘Foodies’ and the building really reflects our passion for food. We believe that meeting and exceeding our customer promises comes from great team engagement and a strong sense of belonging, we’ve built a fabulous new workplace and it’s our people that will make it a home away from home.”

The appointment of Hospitality Manager, Charlie Cai demonstrates Foodstuffs North Island’s commitment to good kai and hosting. This aspiration starts to play out immediately with a Concierge who warmly welcomes new arrivals.

Charlie is also responsible for the Innovation Hub where, in the demonstration kitchen, suppliers will be showcasing their new products – and in-house chefs will have the opportunity to trial new recipes for the team and guests to try. The Private Label team will be using the fully equipped test kitchen to innovate, evaluate products and carry out technical testing, plus there’s the aptly named Bar 1922, giving a nod to the year Foodstuffs was formed.

“Food brings us all together in the most joyful way and is a huge part of the culture we want to create here. There are no separate eating spaces, we all eat together and regardless of whether you come here every day to work, are a co-operative member or partner, we want everyone to feel welcome, inspired and nourished by their experience with us here,” says Cai.

Foodstuffs Landing Drive also has its own Events Centre, a purpose-built flexible space that hosts anywhere from 10 to 300 people for Foodstuffs events, learning and large meetings both physically and virtually. “We’re a huge whānau with over 300 co-operative members employing over 22,000 people, we regularly get together and whether we’re communicating strategy or learning new skills it’s ultimately about facilitating our transformation into one of most customer driven retailers in the world,” says Hammonds.

Sustainability is woven into every aspect of the campus, including 2,915 solar panels live on the roof of the DC, directly powering the Support Centre building, which is on-track to achieve Green 5 Star for its interior fit out, supporting employee wellbeing. The forklifts and reach trucks in the DC are fully electric and there’s EV chargers in the car park. Natural light has been built into the architectural design and there’s a rainwater harvesting system.

“As New Zealanders we love this place we call home, one of our promises is we’ll be leaders in sustainability, Foodstuffs Landing Drive is very much a part of that commitment and we’re extremely proud to be calling this place home,” says Quin.

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