12th November 2021 By Monique Steele | firstname.lastname@example.org | @foodtickernz
The new owner of fermented food company Be Nourished has spent the past 18 months in a “whirlwind” restructuring the business to increase production and protect its plant-based turf from competition.
Owner Brenda Trotman, who has Fonterra, Heinz Wattie’s and Hellers on her CV, has overhauled the 14-year-old company’s sales force, moved into a new rented factory and set up an all-in-one inventory and ordering system since buying it from founder Joanna Nolan for an undisclosed amount in June last year.
“I soon realised we had three warehouses around New Zealand picking and packing, which came at a cost, and I needed it all under the one umbrella,” Trotman told the Ticker.
“So, I built a purpose-built factory and moved in March this year. It’s been a whirlwind and it hasn’t stopped.”
It also recently employed marketing activation agency BrandSpec, added a new sales force, and brought distribution in-house.
The result of all the changes has been a 30% increase in production and the launch of new products, which has led to a 30% uptick in sales in the past six months.
“We were sleepy for a while, but now Be Nourished has woken up,” Trotman said.
The company’s Auckland factory now processed around 4-5 tonnes of raw, pesticide-free vegetable material from organic New Zealand suppliers for a range of organic kimchi, sauerkraut and gut shot products, available in 12 SKUs.
This year, it released a new krautchi product and the once-seasonal dill pickle sauerkraut was now sold all-year around.
The products were available in around 230 stockists including specialty and organic food stores, Countdown, and Foodstuffs’ Pak’n Save and New World outlets with supermarkets getting behind the booming plant-based and fermented foods products.
“The category is plant-based and it’s growing,” Trotman said.
“You can see in supermarkets they now have dedicated areas for plant-based [foods]. Countdown is now looking at specific plant-based healthy eating segments in their chilled space which they’ve never done before.
“We are the leaders [in fermented foods] in Countdown. We’re going to grow that, we know that. That’s exciting stuff for us.”
In Foodstuffs supermarkets, Trotman said Be Nourished was second in the fermented foods segment, behind six-year-old Helensville company Living Goodness.
“One thing I learnt at Watties: ‘when you’re number one, think like a number two,’” she said, adding that strengthening the retail presence of Be Nourished in New Zealand was top priority.
The company is in the process of earning a BioGro certification with an audit of the factory and production coming up next month.
“We stand alone in the organic fermented space,” Trotman said.
Former owner Nolan remained working in the business alongside Trotman developing new products with releases planned for early 2022.
The company currently exported small quantities of product to Rarotonga through importer and distributor Cook Islands Trading Corporation, but Trotman said the domestic market was the company’s “bread and butter” and took priority for now.
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