Kiwigarden produces a range of 100% natural, no nasties, freeze-dried snacks. Founders Taine Randell and Joanne Edwards spoke to the team about entering the healthy snack market.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“We started making freeze-dried snacks for our own children after struggling to find convenience snacks that were natural, nutritious and healthy for the kids’ lunch box. I wanted something they could grab on the go, which I would feel good giving to them. Our snacks were a hit with our children, their friends but also their friends’ parents. It became apparent there was a gap in the market for these types of healthy snacks. And with the prevalence of obesity and allergies in children, we wanted to do our bit to help support healthy kids by offering parents a healthier, better alternative in children’s convenience snacks.”
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“Our current range of snacks – all of which is gluten-free – includes crunchy apple slices, sweet corn kernels and yoghurt drops with delicious flavours such as strawberry, mixed berry to banana & honey, raspberry coconut, gold kiwi, passionfruit and natural greek style yoghurt.”
“There’s nothing quite like our snacks on the supermarket shelves. We chose freeze drying over conventional drying methods because it is a gentle process that only removes water while locking in virtually all the nutrients, volatiles and enzymes contained in the raw product. This way, we retain all the goodness from the premium ingredients we use.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“We are currently launching our 20g yoghurt drops (that’s the range with the NZ Food Awards winner and three award finalists) into the baby category at supermarkets. This snack was particularly created with younger children in mind. Our feedback from parents with young babies and toddlers was that they wanted a snack that would help introduce new flavours and textures to children who could self-feed. These yoghurt drops are perfect for their little hands and they dissolve quickly. They are suitable for children around 10 months who can confidently self-feeding. There is no honey in this range to cater for that age group as honey is not recommended for children under 12 months old.”
“This range is available through our online store www.kiwigarden.co.nz and we are now ranged in over 120 supermarkets across New Zealand. We also have distribution throughout Australasia including Australia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“As a business still in its infancy (Kiwigarden is turning four this year), there is definitely potential to grow and expand our reach. We are excited and humbled by what we have achieved so far, in such little time. We are listening to what our customers are telling us; we are watching the way consumption is shifting and are taking these feedbacks to our “kitchen lab” to come up with fun, new ways to present healthy food. We want to be a leader in the snack food category and be recognised both nationally and internationally.”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability?
“Our products include crunchy apple slices, sweet corn kernels and 7 flavours of yoghurt drops (including the 4 new pouches). The whole range is available through our online shop (www.kiwigarden.co.nz) and at over 120 participating supermarkets and outlets across the country.”
“In stores, you will find our snacks in the convenience snack aisle, produce section, health and well-being aisle or even in a dedicated gluten-free section. Our retail cartons (5x9g) has a $4.99 RRP and pouches (20g) has a $3.99 RRP. We would love to keep expanding our distribution nationwide and overseas. There are always opportunities and emerging markets and we’re excited about the prospects.”