Foodstuffs to partner with community groups to open social supermarkets

by | Nov 10, 2022 | News

Foodstuffs North Island, the co-operative behind PAK’nSAVE, New World and Four Square, has  announced plans to partner with community organisations to open social supermarkets right across the motu to help tackle food insecurity in New Zealand communities.

The co-operative has already opened social supermarkets in Wellington, Kaitaia, Tokoroa, Whangārei and Otūmoetai, offering individuals and whanau experiencing food insecurity the opportunity to shop in a supermarket-style environment. Goods are either free of charge or available for koha.

A contemporary take on the traditional food bank approach, social supermarkets provide food support with greater levels of choice and dignity. People experiencing food insecurity choose what they need for themselves in a supermarket-style environment, rather than being given a pre-filled food parcel that might not meet the specific dietary and cultural needs or personal preferences of the family.

Chris Quin, Foodstuffs North Island Chief Executive, says: “I’m announcing our commitment to open social supermarkets right across the motu, providing a more dignified and respectful way to access food when times are tough. Rising inflation and cost of living pressure means budgets are being stretched more than ever, and many hard-working Kiwis are really struggling. Since partnering with the Wellington City Mission to open New Zealand’s first social supermarket 18 months ago, we’ve been humbled by the response and see social supermarkets as being an important way we can help every day New Zealanders get access to the groceries they need with dignity.”

Willa Hand, Foodstuffs North Island Head of Membership Experience, says: “Each of our social supermarkets will be run as a partnership with a local community organisation, strengthening relationships and helping local communities to thrive. Every social supermarket will be unique because they are designed, owned and operated by the community partner who tailors them to meet the needs of the local community.”

“Our Foodstuffs team apply their expertise to manage the logistics of setting up a supermarket,” Hand explains, “training the team to operate it, and coordinating the replenishment processes, whilst the community partner determines the day-to-day operations, including the most appropriate offering for customers. As part of the social supermarket experience, community partners can offer wrap around services, with volunteers providing social work and financial planning, which when combined with access to groceries, can make a huge difference in getting people back on their feet.”

When opening a social supermarket, Foodstuffs North Island connects a local store owner and operator with a community partner. The local store owner works closely with the community partner to provide things like shelving, fridges and freezers. They also provide training, advice and mentorship on how to run a successful supermarket. With an eye on the future and building long-term relationships, the owner operator also provides ongoing support and help with replenishing stock levels, supermarket operations and keeping the doors open.

Foodstuffs North Island’s social supermarkets will be opened via a staggered approach with the intention of having all stores operating by the end of 2024.

Press Release: Foodstuffs North Island

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