Creating and supporting thriving communities on the mainland is at the heart of Foodstuffs South Island. Supporting local suppliers and having meaningful partnerships where we innovate together is a big part of Foodstuffs South Island's recipe for success.
Foodstuffs South Island is delighted to be a part of Nelson-based FSL Food's journey to introduce its latest delicious frozen innovation, Choc Bites, a frozen summer fruit treat covered in dark chocolate. The product is available at PAK'nSAVE, New World and Four Square stores across the South Island.
Eliana Glover is the Managing Director of FSL Foods and a fourth-generation berry entrepreneur from Nelson Tasman. She developed Choc Bites with her food production and technology team and launched the product in supermarkets in collaboration with Foodstuffs South Island.
Her family has been sourcing and supplying frozen fruit and vegetables to Foodstuffs South Island for over 20 years, with leading retail brands Goodness Kitchen, Fruzio and The Berry Fix.
Choc Bites are available in three flavours: strawberry, blueberry and cherry.
Glover first came across the idea of a chocolate-covered frozen fruit snack at a trade event in the US at the beginning of 2022.
"I'm always travelling to food expos and trade events, looking at markets and trends, and that time I saw a trend in chocolate-covered frozen fruit as a snack," said Glover.
"It seemed a natural fit to our frozen fruit offering, building on our existing range as a premium product."
Glover continued it was a great way to offer summer fruit year-round and make frozen fruit affordable and available.
To turn her idea into a reality, a product that would be available in supermarket freezers around the country, Eliana bounced the idea off the Foodstuffs South Island category team.
The co-operative always seeks innovative products and ways to support local suppliers and businesses. Choc Bites are the perfect example of how close collaboration on sales, development and customer insights will help products like Choc Bites get into stores.
"The category team at Foodstuffs South Island and Foodstuffs North Island have been great to work with and integral to getting the product into supermarkets across the country."
Glover continued that she appreciated Foodstuffs' support in making the process easy and efficient for everyone involved.
The product was launched in Foodstuffs stores earlier this month, first in the South Island and then the North Island and early sales indications are positive.
The company source cherries and strawberries from Turkey due to the grading quality required for their Choc Bites. The strawberries, for example, are the Camarosa variety which is sweeter, smaller and more uniform in size compared with varieties grown in New Zealand. The blueberries are sourced from a grower in Hawke's Bay.
"Chocolate-covered strawberries are the epitome of a Kiwi summer treat. I like to put them on platters or have them as a snack. They're a great treat to have on hand for any occasion."
FSL has a long history in Nelson Tasman. Eliana's great-grandfather, Charlie or 'Pop' Warnes, planted the first raspberry crop at their Tapawera farm in Tasman during the 1930s.
Charlie Warnes, or 'Pop', planted the Tasman region's first raspberry crops.
Eliana's grandfather, Horace Warnes, carried on the family tradition of berries and was part of the first export of berry fruit to Australia for making jam.
Her parents, Mike and Glenys Glover, evolved the family business by moving into frozen fruit and vegetables. They've worked closely with local and international growers to produce leading retail brands such as Fruzio, Goodness Kitchen and The Berry Fix, most of which are packed by the team in their Nelson factory.
Four generations later, the one block of raspberries planted initially on their Tapawera farm has expanded to hectares of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and boysenberries. The farm remains in the family today and is still a key supplier of individually quick-frozen fruit to FSL Foods.
And now Glover has provided her take on the family business, adding Choc Bites. She's looking forward to the future and continuing to develop and expand FSL.
Sustainability is a big focus for the company, and it continuously looks at ways to improve. They source Rainforest Alliance-sourced chocolate for the Choc Bites range and continue prioritising sustainable packaging – the product's pouches are made of 26 percent recycled plastic. FSL is also a part of the Soft Plastics initiative, Future Posts, where soft plastics collected in some Foodstuffs supermarkets and retail outlets around the country are turned into fence posts for farms and growers.
Choc Bites are available at New World and PAK'nSAVE stores nationwide. They're also available at Four Square and Raeward Fresh stores on the South Island.