Foodstuffs North Island, the 101-year-old, 100 percent New Zealand-owned and operated co-operative of grocers, in partnership with Nourished for Nil, is proud to announce the opening of the Hawke's Bay's first social supermarket, located at 47 Edmundson Street in Onekawa.
Social supermarkets are a fresh and dignified approach to food support. Instead of providing pre-filled food parcels to individuals experiencing food insecurity, they can select the items they need in a supermarket-style environment. This empowers people to make the choices that best align with their family's dietary, cultural, and personal preferences. Food and grocery products are offered at low or no cost, utilising a points system, all within a standard supermarket environment, making healthy and affordable food accessible to everyone in the community.
Chris Quin, Chief Executive of Foodstuffs North Island, said that in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, Foodstuffs worked closely with the team at Nourished for Nil to distribute over $223,500 of PAK'nSAVE gift cards to those most affected.
"When we were looking for a local partner to open a social supermarket with, Nourished for Nil was the obvious choice," said Quin.
The cost-of-living crisis means many hard-working Kiwis struggle to meet ends, and food support demand has surged nationwide.
"This social supermarket will provide dignity and choice for families who need a helping hand."
This is the eighth social supermarket opened by Foodstuffs North Island in the last two years, and the co-op is committed to opening many more across the North Island. Each social supermarket is opened in collaboration with a local community organisation, making each store unique as they are designed, owned, and operated by the local community partner organisation. These partnerships also offer wraparound services, including access to social workers and financial mentors.
Christina McBeth, Founder of Nourished for Nil, said having a social supermarket would make a massive difference for people affected by the cyclone.
"It's a long road to recovery, and many subsidies have lapsed. Many live in less-than-ideal situations and prioritise feeding their kids and pets over themselves."
Nourish For Nil is confident this social supermarket will go a long way in helping get families back on track.
"The high cost of living has been amplified here in Hawke's Bay because of the cyclone. Our people are struggling, and having another option for helping increase food security will be welcome."
Nourished for Nil is well established in the Hawke's Bay food security space, having operated a free food model since 2017. The not-for-profit also took over the running of the Napier and Hastings food banks in 2022.
McBeth explained that partnering with Foodstuffs North Island to open a social supermarket is the next step in providing deeper community support.
"We've got a large community who are struggling financially right now. They're hard-working families who struggle to put food on the table. To be accessible for everyone, we need a multi-pronged approach that provides options and access to wraparound services, which we're now able to do thanks to our social supermarket."
Foodstuffs North Island is the New Zealand-owned co-operative behind the North Island's PAK'nSAVE, New World, Four Square and Gilmour's stores. Being 100 percent locally owned, the co-operative has a responsibility to be 'Here for New Zealand' and has promised to help ensure all New Zealanders have access to healthy, affordable food and to support local communities to thrive.
PAK'nSAVE Tamatea, under the guidance of owner-operator Andrew Graney, will act as the buddy store for the new social supermarket, providing ongoing support and training to ensure the store's success.
The ongoing cost of living crisis has stretched budgets and led to increased demand for food support throughout New Zealand. Foodstuffs North Island is committed to opening more social supermarkets across the North Island to ensure all Kiwis have access to healthy, affordable food.
Foodstuffs North Island and Nourished for Nil are excited to embark on this journey together, making a tangible difference in the lives of Hawke's Bay residents facing food insecurity.