Angelique van Camp commenced operating Wild Country in 1995, after purchasing the business from the original owner who was repacking vinegar, olive oil and olives in decorative bottles, making preserved lemons and limes, and selling through the gift industry. In 2000 Angelique teamed up with her husband, Stephen Wilkinson, and moved the company forward to a more condiments-based business, in line with current trends. Today, Wild Country specialises in delicious gourmet sauces, dressings and chutneys, all handmade using locally-grown ingredients from the Waikato and New Zealand.
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“We are always looking at the food trends globally and looking at what new flavours we can bring to our market here in New Zealand. As we’ve been around for 21 years, we’ve seen how important it is to stay ahead of the market, meeting consumers’ and retailers’ expectation, and always being able to provide “new” products to the table.
We were one of the first companies to make shelf-stable Garlic Aioli. We launched Bourbon & Bacon Jam & Spicy Bacon Mayonnaise in 2013. And we use truffle, chipotle, beer, black raspberries and other specialty ingredients in a number of our products – we get constantly asked for intellectual information to assist other small manufacturers with packaging, ingredients and process.
Food allergies have become more prevalent in recent years, and most of our products can meet the requirements of a coeliac. However, we do not profess to offer a ‘health’-oriented product range and will not add artificial flavours or sweeteners to create specific products. Our range is for the specialty food market, so it has to be different to a mayonnaise, mustard or chutney that shoppers can find in a supermarket.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“Our news this year is that we’re turning 21, and we’re pretty delighted to have been able to achieve this milestone in our business. We’ve seen a lot of changes in the market over this period of time and see our position as being one of strength, as the growth of the specialty food stores in New Zealand emerges.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“Our business is in a good place at the moment with size and range; we’d like to increase our exports, and we’d like to be involved with more co-branding activities with other high-end producers in New Zealand.”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
“We’re exclusively available to the specialty market; food stores, gift, department, hamper/basket, online and hospitality.”