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Thursday 30 June 2022

Online supermarket startup slates May for Auckland debut

14th April 2021 By Bridget O'Connell | | @foodtickernz

A new online subscription grocery service that claims to strip out waste and benefit local producers with a direct to consumer model is set to launch next month.

Supie is the brainchild of accountant and vegetable farmer’s daughter Sarah Balle who said the startup had pioneered a new way to deliver food to consumer’s directly from those who produce, grow and make it.

She has teamed up with farmers and growers – which will in part see Supie utilise fresh produce deemed too “ugly” for supermarket sale – as well as well-known brands such as Ceres Organics, Fix & Fog and Ecostore to build up an offering of more than 2,500 pantry products.

Sarah Balle

The service uses what it describes as “innovative ordering models” to directly source from suppliers, which in the case of fresh produce means when you place an order for broccoli it would still be rooted in the ground, according to Supie.

Consumers can opt for premium fresh produce, or for a cheaper price buy so-called ‘tag 2’ fruit and vegetables – those rejected by big grocery chain retailers.

Supie is set to launch in the Auckland region next month with an initial offer of 1000 subscriptions. Members can chose from two options – a free standard membership which gives access to 2,500 products, more than 100 growers and producers, a personal Supie shopper, complimentary packaging and pay-as-you go delivery.

The Supie Plus membership is $14 per month which means on top of the standard package you get 2-10% cashback on products – which is either a credit or can be donated to charity – free delivery on shops over $70, “exclusive deals and discounts” and free product samples.

Balle opted for a membership model in order to help the business “manage its logistics, and in turn remain sustainable and environmentally friendly.”

It also helped the business run a no-waste ordering model, she added that more subscriptions will be released over time to ensure the business grows sustainably.

Supie is the latest challenger to the traditional supermarket model, following the launch in December last year of The Honest Grocer and Maker2U, an online farmers market marketplace where local producers from all around the country can sell direct to customers, which has been steadily adding to its product range since its launch more than a year ago.

Balle said she was prompted to start the business after becoming aware of the huge amount of food waste in NZ – particularly “ugly” fresh produce deemed unsellable by supermarkets.

Some 14m kg of waste ends up in landfill each year from NZ supermarkets. The food wasted every year generates 325m kg of carbon emissions, with over half of the food wasted comprising fruit and vegetables.

“Our producers and partners care a lot about quality, transparency, and hold sustainable values at heart. By having these direct relationships with our suppliers, we are able to reduce food waste by running a no waste model, extending the shelf life and giving consumers access to the highest quality and freshest food you can buy,” Balle said.

She also wanted to level the playing field for smaller producers, and said the startup breaks down the traditional barriers of how conventional supermarkets treat smaller New Zealand producers and brands.

“Supie welcomes and allows smaller brands and artisans to sell their product, without jumping through lengthy hoops and with 100% transparency on the margin.

“Not only does this help local businesses reach new consumers, it gives Kiwis access to locally made products that you typically can’t get at the larger traditional supermarkets.”

Following the Auckland launch, Balle plans to grow the service nationwide.



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