The New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores (NZACS) has appointed two new members to its management committee, including Louise Mitchell from NPD and Joanna Graham from bp.

Both Mitchell and Graham have joined as retail representatives, and each brings with them long and varied experience across FMCG, and the convenience channel.

Dave Hooker, Executive Director, NZACS, welcomed Mitchell and Graham and said that their industry knowledge and experience would be an asset to the association.

“The management committee are very pleased with the inclusion of Joanna Graham from bp and Louise Mitchell from NPD. Both Jo and Lou will add more diversity to the group and provide an increased level of focus from a retailer perspective. We are excited to work with them and make use of their varied backgrounds and experience.”

Meet… Louise Mitchell, Senior Category Manager, NPD

Mitchell has been managing multiple categories since the establishment of NPD in 2017 where she moved from Foodstuff’s South Island. She has extensive experience in foodservice and has been pivotal in developing the Refresh Food offering in the new-to-industry NPD sites in the South Island.

C&I NZ: What do you enjoy most about the convenience industry?

Mitchell: I love how dynamic it is! We are lucky at NPD to be able to continually keep our offer fresh and exciting for our customers. We are currently working on a range of signature products for our Refresh Café sites which I am excited to bring to market.

C&I NZ: What are the biggest challenges facing the NZ convenience industry now?

Mitchell: The changes to vaping legislations will be one to watch closely. Fruit and dessert flavours made up more than 50% of our sales so it will be interesting to see if customers transition over to the tobacco and menthol flavours, which they can continue to purchase from our sites or if they will move to online purchasing.

A lot of suppliers are also experiencing stock supply issues due to freight demands at our ports.

C&I NZ: What do you hope to achieve in joining the NZACS management committee?

Mitchell: I hope to gain even more industry exposure for our brand and bring some of my foodservice experience and knowledge to the committee. I am also looking forward to working closer with some of our key suppliers.

I feel honoured to represent NPD on the committee. I am looking forward to being a part of the team!

Meet… Joanna Graham, Senior Manager, Convenience Trading ANZ, bp

Graham has had a varied international career, including stints in the UK and China. She has held technical and commercial roles at Fisher & Paykel, Diageo and most recently bp, where she currently heads up convenience trading for Australia and New Zealand. 

C&I NZ: What do you enjoy most about the convenience industry?

Graham: I love the fast-paced nature of convenience! It’s extremely satisfying to be talking about something in the office one week and see it activated in-store the next. And the small box format means that every inch of space must work hard. We really must know and understand our customer and make good decisions about what we range.

C&I NZ: What are the biggest challenges facing the NZ convenience industry now?

Graham: It’s a period of great uncertainty for the industry and the consumer. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic… and our customers are increasingly digitally connected. It’s more important than ever to stay close to our consumer and ensure we are pivoting quickly to meet their changing needs and expectations. 

C&I NZ: What do you hope to achieve in joining the NZACS management committee?

Graham: I’m based in Melbourne, so more than anything, I see joining the committee as a great way to foster strong connections in the industry in New Zealand.  

As I write this, both Australia and New Zealand are gripped by lockdowns. I look forward to being able to travel to meet the committee in person in New Zealand at some stage soon!

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