In 1922, Foodstuffs North Island (NI) was a small, cooperative of a few grocers marching forward toward bigger things. Fast forward a century to today and the ways the co-operative has changed across the decades to cater to growing and changing communities is well worth celebrating, which is exactly what we did to mark our 100th year of serving New Zealanders.
From the art deco styling of the 1920s, through keeping calm and carrying on, war time restrictions, 50s food trends like instant pudding, the hairspray-fuelled hairstyles of the 80s, to keeping Kiwis’ biscuit tins full across a century of morning teas, Foodstuffs North Island has been a constant for Kiwis and their whānau throughout 10 decades of change.
“To mark 100 years of serving communities across Te Ika-a-Māui, our 100% Kiwi-owned and operated co-operative has been celebrating a century of service by holding a series of events for our teams and business partners, past and present,” says Chief Executive Officer, Chris Quin.
For Quin it was important to put people at the heart of the centenary celebrations. He says: “We’re proud to be a team who’re Foodies for life. People and the incredible work they do are at the very centre of every success story we have to tell from the last century. The 100-year events have been an incredible journey through our shared history.
“Our suppliers, distribution and support centre teams are all part of making this milestone happen and I’m grateful that after over two years of Zoom calls and Teams meetings because of Covid restrictions, that so many of our Foodies family were able to come together to celebrate 100 years of service in person.
“The grocery industry never stands still and, as a team of thousands, working together is more important than ever as we face new challenges like rising inflation and recovery from the pandemic.
“It’s the way we’ve done things in our co-op for 100 years and it’s how we will go into the next 100 –by constantly growing and evolving to keep on exceeding our customers’ expectations.”
Highlights included a ‘Golden Oldies’ morning tea for retired Foodstuffs alumni, a co-operative member dinner and an event to celebrate important partnerships.
A walk-through interactive exhibition was the centrepiece of the historic celebrations. Visitors were able to soak in moments and milestones in the 100-year history of Foodstuffs North Island in the immersive experience. Guests were taken on a trip through the decades with each stage designed to showcase how media, food and daily life was represented across that generation. Kiwi living rooms and kitchens from across the years cleverly showcased what Foodstuffs represented to families at that time.
Snapshots of Foodstuffs history were brought to life with video of past team member stories and vignettes that showed the integral role Foodstuffs has played in communities over the past 10 decades.
The open-plan exhibition also displayed some of Foodstuffs’ previous innovation projects, such as the evolution of Pams, to past winners of the coveted Checker of the Year and a retrospective look at the changing fashion through the decades as seen in the uniform evolution across the eras, along with global examples of the future of grocery.