13th October 2021 By Monique Steele | firstname.lastname@example.org | @foodtickernz
Tasman Bay Food Co has clinched a contract with the supermarket giant in a deal that will help offset the Covid-19-squeezed school canteen sales of its Juicies and Moosies iceblock brands.
The Hirst family-owned business has inked a supply deal several years in the making, which will see 10-packs of its tropical-flavoured Juicies go on sale in around 900 Woolworths stores later this month.
Should sales go well, the 34-year-old Nelson food manufacturer expected Woolworth to take on more SKUs and was working with its Australian distributor to also get its Moosies brand into grocery.
“We’re selling Moosies in school canteens in Australia and they are bigger than Juicies there, so hopefully if Juicies go well in Woolworths this year, we’ll be able to look at other flavours wildberry and lemonade, and Moosies as well,” managing director Marina Hirst Tristram told the Ticker.
Tasman Bay Food Co sold its three ice-block brands – the third being Dr Feelgood launched in 2020 – in supermarkets and convenience stores across New Zealand. It started the drive into Australian grocery after international sales at school canteens and amusement parks took a hit due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
“We’ve easily lost $2m in revenue to export markets [in Australia, Japan and Singapore] in the last year,” Tristram said.
“We’ve missed out on two Northern Hemisphere summers now [due to Covid-19 lockdowns], so fingers crossed next year will be different.
“We expect some good growth from Australia. It’s so hard though. With Covid, it’s been a tough couple of years.”
Hirst Tristram said New Zealand was relatively stable, outside of Covid-19 lockdowns, selling more than 10 million Juicies annually and ranked the number two product by volume in the ice cream family packs segment in supermarkets.
The company turned over $12m this year. Juicies and Moosies made up around 60% of turnover, of which 30%-50% was from export.
“We’re lucky in some respects because we have multiple channels, so exporting to school canteens might be a bit sad at the moment, but at least we can rely on our retail grocery business.”
Alongside its three iceblock brands, Tasman Bay Food Co also manufactured baked goods for its brand Zesti, contract manufactured private label bakery products, made sauce sold under its Speedway brand, and exported juice to Australian food manufacturers.
Hirst Tristram and her sister Ainslie Pomeroy took over the business from their father, founder Brian Hirst in 2017. It currently employed 40 staff at its 12-year-old Brightwater factory, where it has eight production lines.
The business continued to invest in its production facilities last year ploughing $500,000 into packaging equipment, and in April it increased production capacity for Juicies installing $1m of new equipment.