Gourmet food retailer Farro, which acts as a business incubator for hundreds of New Zealand artisan food producers, is on track to reach $100 million in sales this year, and increase its staff numbers to more than 470.
Farro director Janene Draper says the company’s growth is due to Kiwis’ more adventurous tastes and willingness to embrace more exotic foods.
“In the past decade we have seen the taste palettes of New Zealand shoppers mature considerably, as Kiwis venture beyond their traditional dietary staples.
“At the same time there is a growing awareness of food intolerances with gluten, wheat or dairy free products among our fastest growing ranges,” she says.
Draper says Farro has also provided a supportive environment for hundreds of new products to gradually develop and become market ready, with more than 550 local suppliers distributing through her stores.
“There are some incredibly talented artisan food producers in the local market who we are proud to say started in Farro stores.
“They would often make products in their home kitchen and bring them to us to trial in store. We have been able to provide a key platform for these small businesses that sits in between the local farmers market and the high volume supermarkets,” says Draper.
Draper says the recent opening of a new store and ecommerce division will provide a significant revenue boost helping the company achieve its sales target.
The new online service also allows shoppers to have their groceries delivered to refrigerated lockers for collection on their way home.
The chilled, self service lockers which can be accessed by shoppers 24 hours a day, provide a keyless entry system using a digital code sent to the customer on completion of an online order.
Draper says the service is changing the way consumers shop online and Farro is keen to capitalise on this new growth area.
“While online shopping offers a new level of convenience, one of the perceptual barriers for some has been how the integrity of perishable products is maintained at an ambient temperature,”
“The digital locker model has been added recently by online retailers such as Amazon and its introduction here shows the local market is adopting innovations at a similar pace.
“They help resolve some of the traditional ‘pain points’ that can occur when buying food online such as needing a secure place to store the package when you aren’t there to sign for it or, the growing resistance from some employers to the volume of personal parcels arriving at work,” she says.
Draper says that closing the traditional online service gaps has increased the size of the average order significantly with their online customers purchasing twice as much per order as those shopping in our store.
She says the addition of an online delivery has meant they are able to expand their customer base throughout New Zealand and are now able to meet demand for a range of gourmet and speciality products – including those with food sensitivities.
“In addition those with dairy intolerances or who have a preference for paleo, fair trade, organic, vegetarian and vegan options now have a wider selection too, she says.