Proudly 100% New Zealand-owned and operated, Foodstuffs has been an enduring Kiwi success story ever since innovative Auckland grocers first put down co-operative roots in the ever-growing city. Almost a century later, it remains this country’s largest grocery distributor outperforming tough Australian competition.

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The success story began in July 1922 when Foodstuffs’ founder, J Heaton Barker, called together Members of the Auckland Master Grocers’ Association to discuss plans for the formation of a co-operative buying group. The co-op’s centenary is just six years away and you can read more about the co-op’s eventful history here.

The larger of the two regional Foodstuffs co-operatives in existence today, Foodstuffs North Island was officially formed in 2013 following the merger of Auckland and Wellington-based operations. Owned by its retail store Members, the co-op supplies 99 New World, 42 PAK’nSAVE, and 203 Four Square owner-operated supermarkets, as well as 79 Liquorland, one Shoprite and two Write Price stores along with seven Gilmours wholesale foodservice stores.

CEO Chris Quin, pictured, joined Foodstuffs North Island in September 2015, bringing to the role a wealth of leadership skills, commercial experience and strategic nous. He soon added a fifth strategic focus – ‘being a powerfully aligned and engaged Co-op’ – to help deliver long term growth for the co-operative, and value for Members.

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Chris leads a team of more than 1,800 people across the business.

“Strong co-operative principles and behaviours have served our North Island customers and generations of grocers well for more than 90 years. Being a powerfully aligned co-op, we’ve continued to grow over the past year,” says Chris.

“The strength of a successful co-op is the commitment to pass a better co-op to the next generation of Members. Our Paramount Principle to work for the mutual benefit of all Members and to perpetuate and promote the Co-op has been reaffirmed this year with the Board and Leadership Team ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ on the need for powerful alignment across Foodstuffs North Island.”

The 2016 Annual Report highlights Foodstuffs North Island’s strong performance. In his CEO’s Report, Chris says a priority was to connect with Members as primary customers including visiting many stores across the island.

“We are a people and purpose-driven business, and relationships make the difference. It’s clear that we have a passionate Membership base who are deeply connected with our customers and communities,” he says. “Collaboration is at the heart of a high performing culture and enables agility as a Co-op.”

Cooperative Business NZ Chief Executive Craig Presland visited Foodstuffs North Island in October. He noted that one of the ways in which this organisation will know if it has succeeded is when “we can see a long and sustainable future ahead”, sustainability being a cornerstone within the co-operative business model.

Craig reports:

“With the recent addition of a new strategic focus to be a ‘powerfully aligned and engaged co-operative’, Foodstuffs North Island is obviously looking well into the future while it has improved its alignment by joining Foodstuffs South Island as a Member of Cooperative Business New Zealand,” he says.

“We are delighted to have Foodstuffs North Island on board with us and can see good opportunities in driving value for this Member through our recently announced Co-operation amongst Co-ops initiative in particular.”

  • Together with Foodstuffs South Island, Foodstuffs North Island owns Foodstuffs (NZ) Limited, a small non-trading entity, which represents the two regional co-operatives’ interests on issues of national or grocery-specific importance.
  • Read our recent profile on Foodstuffs South Island, Serving the mainland co-op style

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