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Thursday 17 June 2021

Fermented foods a million dollar idea

10th June 2021 By Monique Steele | | @foodtickernz

Fermented foods company Living Goodness is looking to expand its current range of sauerkraut, slaw and kimchi by moving into the sauce and dip categories.

The Living Goodness product range includes kimchi, sauerkraut and coleslaws, with more product development to come.

The Helensville-based company established by Peter Kearns and partner Fiona Dykes in 2015 is getting underway with new product development – which it put off last year due to Covid-induced uncertainty.

“We’ve got a couple of ideas in the pipeline,” Dykes told the Ticker.

“We’d like to bring out some new ranges in the next year or two. Staying in the fermented probiotics arena, live bacteria. Hopefully in the dressings and dips arena.”

“We’ve got the time and headspace to actually dedicate a bit more resource to doing some [product] development. It was planned for last year, but everything was so uncertain, we just weren’t sure if we wanted to invest any money in that area – just in case.

Living Goodness currently sells its fermented foods in major retailers, wholesale and foodservice channels all over New Zealand, having quickly been picked up from a farmers market by retailer Farro Fresh back in 2015.

Once Island Bay New World in Wellington started stocking the products that same year, Foodstuffs followed adding more and more stores, according to Dykes who said they first started into fermented foods to help with Kearns’ gut health issues.

The company now banks revenue of more than $1m a year.

“Part of why we did so well in the beginning was because the importance of gut health came out about the same time we started the business. So it was perfect and lucky timing that gut health and improving your health really ties in with our product,” Dykes said.

Fiona Dykes and Peter Kearns launched Living Goodness in 2015.

Its Sassy Sauerkraut, Sum Yum Kimchi and Quick Draw Slaw, were also available online through grocers My Food Bag, Supie, Huckleberry Farms and Natural Organic. 

Retail made up around 70% of sales, with national distribution handled by Bidfoods, Gilmours and Davis, and sales and merchandising through Surge SMC.

Fermentation of the long-shelf life products takes around two months and is undertaken at a commercial kitchen in Helensville by three full-time and four part-time employees.

“We do five days a week, we’ll be putting out maybe 3-4 batches a week averaging about 250-300 jars per batch,” Dykes said.

“We’ve never run out of stock in the six years we’ve been around. Once you start growing, you don’t want to then not be able to supply.”

The company wanted to grow the “more lucrative” wholesale side of the business from 30% of total sales to at least 50% over the next 2-3 years.

“We’re looking to push the wholesale side,” Dykes said.

“We wanted to see if we could get more wholesale contracts in different areas, maybe aged care facilities, and we’re looking at hospitals and schools.”



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