Seeing their product on supermarket shelves is the ultimate goal of many food entrepreneurs. For the two upcoming food and beverage innovators, this milestone will soon become a reality when the winners of the nationwide competition Foodstarter to discover New Zealand’s new food and beverage superstars are decided on April 15.
Founded by the wonderful ministry of New World and the start-up hub, Foodstarter Winners will embark on a journey that will see Foodstarter gain a powerful foothold of support and guidance from the food and beverage industry, helping them grow their business nationally across every new world across New Zealand.
But beating the footstarter is not the only way to the new world. By 2020, more than 300 new suppliers of groceries were supported on supermarket shelves. Many of them are New Zealand-based start-ups, all of which have in common: the best, innovative products that customers want to buy.
So, what’s the secret to going supermarket shelves? We asked Footstarter judges and professionals for their insights and tips on whether Kiwi wants to see their product or expect success on the world stage as part of the new global hub for food and beverage entrepreneurs.
As Business Development Manager and a Foodstarter Partner of the New Zealand Food Discovery Network, Tracy Sheehi’s Day is about innovating and growing the food and beverage business. It requires initial support or initial phase testing with a new product idea, whether it is a company ready to commercialize or ready to export, the New Zealand Food Innovation Network has an easily accessible industry network of professionals, as well as expert facilities and equipment at various locations across the country.
“Creating and developing a new product is exciting and requires some determination,” Sheehi says. “Our role is to help entrepreneurs on the path to success through our national network. We can connect them with the right support to help them develop and grow at any stage of the food and beverage innovation journey.”
Sheehi says there are three main areas that motivate work-ups to work; Carrying out their research to understand the competitors of their products and its differences, to find a path to the market from a financial perspective, to develop a clear idea of what they want when they are ready to compromise.
“Do your research online, walk on the supermarket shelves and go to the farmer’s market and see what’s being sold. Don’t hesitate to buy it, taste it and think about your packaging. Can you do something eco-friendly?” Shihi says.
While there is a great deal of interest in growing production, Sheehi says the new goal is to have a strong business model with the capabilities to produce at the food entrepreneurial level if it is to be on the shelves of the New World.
After doing their homework and identifying an important location, the next stage ensures that production is financially feasible. Business success may require compromises. For example, glass packaging that sets your heart apart when you produce in bulk is not possible.
“Interest in the product is great, but in the end it should be profitable.”
Foodstuffs North Island Business Manager and Proud Foodstarter Supporter Jocelyn McCullum agrees to research and understand your market, and says that New World stores are always out of the crowd looking for interesting new products to meet customer demand.
“Food startups are companies that bring creativity and real innovation to market, and we are eager to work with them.
“New World talks to prospective new suppliers on a daily basis. Those who have thought about meeting customers’ needs and meeting their product, they understand what their difference is, how it is going to make life easier for New World customers.”
The cooperative model of the New World is that they are accessible and there are many opportunities for suppliers to engage on a local, regional and NZ basis. Food type managers regularly meet with new suppliers to determine which products will be regional or national. Nearly half of the new products offered to category managers are in all stores in the region, and up to 25 percent come on the shelf via the direct-to-store route.
All New World stores are operated by the owner, and for many local suppliers the first introduction to its stores will be at the local level. Store owners and managers know their local communities, understand what customers want, and are passionate about the food ecosystem in their region.
“Learning about your local new world and building good relationships will provide invaluable support to new suppliers,” McCullum continues.
As ice cream owners and Foodstarter finalists Hamish McPherson, Nathan Meyer, Blair Nudic and Richard Armiston began to approach New World stores, they talked about storing low-carb, high-protein, 98% sugar-free ice cream.
“We did some research and learned that our primary customer is shopping in supermarkets,” says MacPherson. “So, we set our vision on developing a relationship with the new world and we know it’s driven by the owner, so we found it to be a good place to talk to the right person at a store level. We picked up the phone, asked who we had to talk to, and started building a relationship from there. .
“For our part we have been stubborn and consistent and have always kept our promises. We have worked very hard to build confidence and show our full confidence in our product.”
One of the first stores to get on the IsoCream ship was New World Albany, where owner Jamie Eden not only stored the products, but continued to provide feedback, which was helpful when accessing other stores.
“Working with New World Albany store owner Jamie is a great partnership. He truly understands our product and has been an excellent lawyer for us,” MacPherson continues. “We regularly check with him and ask what he works on and what he notices about emerging trends.”
“His knowledge of the local community and customers is invaluable. He has provided insights that we can share with other New World owners we have talked to. Even as we start small, we are picking up speed, and Iso Cream is being stored more and more in new world stores across the country.”
With even bigger aspirations for the national New World distribution, IsoCream will join the other nine Footstarter finalists competing for one of two life-changing opportunities in the tournament finals on April 15th. Ten finalists were selected from 217 invention entries in the nationwide competition.
The Footstarter Pressure Cooker Final takes place at the new premises of Foodstuffs Landing Drive, Foodstuffs North Island in Manger, where ten finalists present their products to a judging panel of Footstarter Partner Professionals.
Of the two winners, one will be the first to start making it on supermarket shelves, while the other expects the existing New World small supplier to scale every new world in New Zealand.
The full range of Foodstarter partners is as follows: Foods South Island, Foods North Island, Wonderful Ministry, New Zealand Food Discovery Network, Strategy Creative, ChristchurchNZ and Auckland Unlimited.
Visit for more information foodstarter.co.nz