We Love Local enters South Island
Growth of almost 4000 percent during the pandemic, and the demand from Kiwis to ‘back their backyards’ has led giftbox business We Love Local to launch into the South Island. Beginning with Canterbury, We Love Local is expanding its mission to showcase and champion regional vintners, artisans, producers, brewers and distillers. We Love Local’s ‘Celebrating Canterbury’ gift […]
Growth of almost 4000 percent during the pandemic, and the demand from Kiwis to ‘back their backyards’ has led giftbox business We Love Local to launch into the South Island.
Beginning with Canterbury, We Love Local is expanding its mission to showcase and champion regional vintners, artisans, producers, brewers and distillers.
We Love Local’s ‘Celebrating Canterbury’ gift box series highlights the best of the stunning plains that stretch between the Southern Alps and the Pacific coast and are known for growing and producing some of the country’s best foods. Local pioneer producers, including Robinsons Bay olive oil, Foothills honey, Brew Moon Brewing Company, chocolate by Chocolate Traders and wholesome products from Make It Raw, appear in the new regional box series.
Making the cut is a sign of a community-focused producer – a value We Love Local’s founders Timo and Val Reitnauer place a strong emphasis on. One producer that fitted the bill for Celebrating Canterbury was Make It Raw – a business born out of a passion for wholesome, raw food and a desire to provide delicious options for the health-conscious and those on restricted diets.
Started by North Canterbury woman Julia Warren (pictured below) in 2011, Make It Raw was ahead of the curve at a time when raw foods and gluten-free options were nowhere near as common as they are today. Julia noticed a gap in the market for nutritious alternatives to foods such as crackers, muesli bars and cereals that didn’t make those with nutritional requirements feel like they had to settle for boring.
“We definitely rode the start of the wave, not only for raw food but also for gluten-free options that didn’t taste like cardboard,” she says. “Raw food on its own is not such a big deal these days, but we have also focused on the gluten-free, low-carb, KETO aspects and have also seen, in the last two years, a real effort by people to support local producers, which is wonderful.”
Since COVID-19 arrived in New Zealand in 2020, Make it Raw has seen an increase in Kiwis wanting to buy and support products made in their backyard.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in people coming to the Ohoka Farmers Market, which is great. We started there 11 years ago in post-quake Christchurch, and we have been there rain, shine or snow almost every week since. We love it there, and it is a real highlight of the week getting to chat to customers and feel part of a great community. It’s also fantastic that more businesses are also wanting to highlight the work of local producers like us in their own gifting.”
The Reitnauers acquired We Love Local in 2020, just before the first Level 4 lockdown. Gifting intentionally and sustainably, and supporting small New Zealand businesses, has seen the fast-growing company sell more than 15,000 boxes since then.
“The quality of products from Canterbury is just exceptional, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to launch our first South Island gift box. It very much feels like a new chapter in our mission to showcase artisan producers across Aotearoa,” Timo Reitnauer says.
The ongoing impacts of COVID-19 have increased the appetite for locally made products – with the company returning more than $750,000 to regional economies over the last two years – and they’re excited to add Canterbury makers to their offer.
“During these unpredictable and challenging times, it’s heartening to see the love Kiwis have for the products made in their backyard and local communities.”
We Love Local offers regional gift boxes from Kāpiti, Wellington, Horowhenua, Wairarapa, Auckland, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, and Canterbury. It won the Sustainability Award in the 2021 Electra Business Awards, recognising outstanding local success in Kapiti and Horowhenua Regions. Visit www.welovelocal.nz