New Grocery Service Calls Time on NZ Supermarket Duopoly

Kiwis who feel ripped off at the supermarket checkout by the high price of their groceries will welcome today’s launch of The Honest Grocer, an independent online-only supermarket, offering a whole range of premium grocery products at lower prices than the major supermarkets.

Founded on the premise that Kiwi consumers deserve greater choice and better prices when it comes to their weekly food shop, The Honest Grocer plans to stick it to the big guys by disrupting the $15billion[1] duopoly of New Zealand’s two big supermarket players.

The Honest Grocer is the brainchild of Ben Nathan, who also founded Container Door; the factory-to-consumer ecommerce business.

“Our focus is very much on unlocking the abundance of world-class food that we produce in New Zealand, direct from the farmers and growers, at honest prices that are fair to everyone: customers, suppliers and us," said Nathan.

“Kiwis have been paying far too much for far too long at the checkout till and we want to even out the playing field, both for consumers and for New Zealand’s hard-working food and beverage producers."

The launch comes days after the Government announced a 12-month market study into the competitiveness of the supermarket industry, which Nathan believes can’t come quickly enough.

“We see ourselves as a retail disruptor. The supermarket duopoly needs a shake up and I think there is a power imbalance, where both consumers and producers are losing out to the might of the big chains.

“Our prices are so sharp that I suspect some of our suppliers are concerned that we’re ruffling the feathers of their other customers, but I’m passionate about offering Kiwis honest prices and I encourage all suppliers to stand strong in the face of any pressure or heavy-handed tactics from the supermarkets.

“Our business model offers very competitive pricing with minimal stock risk by cutting out all unnecessary links in the supply chain that add to cost. Ultimately, it means more money in the hands of local suppliers and greater savings being passed onto customers."

While the idea behind The Honest Grocer was born before Covid-19, the pandemic brought into focus a gap in the New Zealand market.

“When the country went into lockdown, I saw the impact on some of the country’s best local food producers, who lost their export markets and needed to find new and different ways to sell.

“At the same time, it appeared as though overall supermarket prices increased, while specials were often put on hold. The majority of smaller shops had to close during Levels 3 and 4, which further entrenched the dominance of supermarkets.”

The Honest Grocer features a club structure and monthly membership model, which is a transparent way to provide the sharpest possible prices to customers, while still making enough profit to stay in business.

The Silver Tier membership is free, and will have everyday fantastic-value prices, available to everyone. Gold Tier membership is a commitment of $2.99 for 52 weeks, which unlocks significantly lower prices on key items, especially meat, wine and spirits.

Standard price comparisons to tempt new shoppers include:

-        New Zealand Grass-fed Eye Fillet $23.99 per kilo (Gold Price), elsewhere up to $59.00/kg

-        Grey Goose Vodka 700ml $58.99 (Gold Price), elsewhere up to $74.99

-        Pure Delish Primal Breakfast Mix 400g $14.99 (Gold Price), elsewhere up to $18.49

-        Earthwise Dishwasher Powder 2kg $8.99 (Gold Price), elsewhere up to $12.99

-        Veuve Clicquot Champagne 750ml $58.99 (Gold Price) elsewhere up to $74.99.

The Honest Grocer is live today at and currently delivers to the North Island, excluding rural addresses in two zones. Zone One is Whangarei-Auckland-Hamilton and Zone Two is the rest of the North Island. More products are being uploaded daily.

Delivery fee is a combination of order value and delivery zone, and there’s a minimum spend of $50 per order.

[1] 2019 revenue $15.86billion. Source: Consumer Magazine Aug/Sept 2020.