This month, our Jo reports from New Zealand, where Farro Fresh is changing the way Kiwis shop for groceries…
As a Kiwi living in London for the past ten years and working in the creative industry for retailers the past four, it’s become increasingly interesting to look at the comparisons between the UK and New Zealand grocery shopping experience. While New Zealand does have the equivalent of Sainsbury’s and Tesco, there’s been a significant demand for cleaner, fresher and more sustainable produce, made evident by a marked increase in organic farms.
Back in 2006, a small family business was established in Auckland, with a team of just 12 people fuelled by a desire to create a retail space that showcases the very best of New Zealand food. 12 years later, Farro Fresh has over 400 staff and five stores, each one paying homage to the best local producers of the country.
There’s a high quality organic ‘farm feel’ to every store as soon as you walk in: busy but controlled (which is essentially what a farm is, organised chaos) with exposed beams and high ceilings instantly transporting you to barns in the countryside where everything serves a purpose. From the cheese stalls offering fresh samples, to the coffee bars where you can get a caffeine hit before starting your shop, and the butcher serving fresh organic cuts straight from the farm… the flow of the store gives the impression you are taking a journey through a farm yard and as a result it really feels like you’re buying a higher quality of food.
Breaking away from the generic own brands found in standard supermarkets, Farro’s vision concentrates on start-up, Kiwi-run food businesses which need a helping hand to get their products onto shelves. The products are sourced from throughout the country and have a real artisan look and feel… however this does mean that there is a price tag to match. They’re merchandised beautifully, with strong premium connotations such as chalk boards and inspirational displays on wooden crates, and these are nicely balanced with personality coming through from cute illustrations and tone of voice. The entire store feels genuine and is backed up by the passionate staff who work there. Nothing’s too much trouble, they’re eager to share their knowledge… and to give free tasters!
Farro has gone from strength to strength based on the quality of ingredients, brands, customer service, shopping experience and – it must be said – support of locals. Regardless of whether you’re doing your weekly shop, it’s become a destination for any Kiwi foodie seeking fresh inspiration. So if you find yourself in the City of Sails, drop in, you won’t be disappointed!
Things we love:
The Farro Food kits. Pre-packed food bags with ingredients for three meals feeding either 2 or 4 people along with a recipe designed by Farro’s in-house chefs. Hand-picked and delivered on the same day ready to be cooked that night.
The Farro Hampers. In each store they provide a wooden box where you can build your own bespoke hampers. Great for a foodie’s birthday or all those Christmas treats!
Cook-along with a Farro chef. On the website, you can choose from an array of different recipes and cook along with one of the Farro chefs. Great for fresh meal inspiration!
Keeping New Zealand green. Compostable bags, made from 100% plant-based materials are currently being tested as clean green replacements to the plastic carrier bag.