Qualified chef Genevieve Knights left hospitality and initially moved to marketing, food writing, and photography, which introduced her to the world of food brands. From there, she went to sell pâté at food markets, which eventually grew into what is now Genevieve’s, a food brand that designs and crafts products for supermarket home brands, and My Food Bag and Farro.
“We also contract for other food brands and assist in launching startups. This is all in addition to bringing our branded products to market,” said Knights.
Two trends that Knights has observed gaining traction over time are healthier eating and high quality at affordable price points. Knights continued that numerous great innovative brands were around, which meant that well-established brands operating for 20 years or more may need to review and innovate to maintain a competitive edge.
Genevieve’s focus on creating quality products with good shelves has given the brand its broad client and consumer base. It achieves this through making small batches. With the intent to make each small batch as high of quality as possible.
“We even get support from well-known chefs online who use our products daily for convenience.”
While there has been a rise in novel and innovative flavours, Knights said that staple summer items such as ketchup or BBQ sauce would remain, but potentially with greater room now available for innovation of these traditional flavours.
The key setback, though, is remaining price competitive with a large brand selling a well-known product.
“The key setback, though, is remaining price competitive with a large brand selling a well-known product.”
Genevieve’s doesn’t sell into grocery; all its products are chilled, so it is not competing in the same space as these staple items. However, there has been significant change within the chilled department, with various new products and flavours emerging. In the dressing category, Genevieve’s is stocked with fresh produce, which enables the brand to keep the quality of product excellence and to sell alongside complementing products, such as lettuce bags, which drives consumer engagement as a simple meal solution when visually seen side-by-side.
Genevieve’s best-selling product is its plant-based Avocado and Lime dressing. The avocado is Pressure-packed, giving it an increased shelf-life so that consumers can enjoy the taste of the avocado year-round. Knights said this product proved that novel ingredients could be innovated within the supermarket space to keep up with trends and consumer preferences.
Another key area in Knights has seen success with Genvieve’s retro theme in its product development sector.
“While these sauces sound interesting and new to the market, they are old restaurant favourites over history.”
This trend aligns well with consumer interest in nostalgic products and flavours, and Genvieve’s has utilised the retro theme to bridge a gap between what can be consumed in the restaurant and what can be eaten at home.
Genevieve’s Mushroom Sauce with Summer Truffles, Bearnaise Sauce, and Pepper Sauce are examples of retro flavours returning.
“These little beauties are designed to sit in butchery alongside meats to create that meal solution for customers.”
Knights said that getting butcheries on board with this innovation has been a challenge, explaining that there can sometimes be conflicting perspectives and viewpoints on innovations and their value.
“The most common feedback is ‘we already have ketchup’. But this range is new and is a great addition to butchery sections as they are small and don’t take up much room, retail at under $5 and have a decent shelf life. They are the perfect impulse buy.”
When a product falls behind on sales, Knights looks at options for how to innovate to bring the range back on trend, which happens more frequently in the dressing category than in other products she creates. A key part of innovating is customer and retailer feedback, working with her client base to see what is in demand. This relationship with retailers has led Knights to create products upon request from retailers catering to consumer interests and requests for specific flavours or products.
Genevieve’s plant-based range was a Countdown (Woolworth New Zealand) concept. The retailer requested a healthy alternative to regular dressing, and this range has been a resounding success.
Sometimes, it is just Knights dreaming up ideas, but primarily, the products are driven by market trends.
Read more about Summer Entertaining below, starting on page 20.