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For the commodity, see food.
Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd
Industry Retail
Founded 1922; 94 years ago
Headquarters New Zealand
Products New World, Pak'n Save, Four Square
Revenue Auckland Decrease NZ$3,292,636,000 (2009)
Wellington Increase NZ$2,141,694,000 (2009)
South Island Increase NZ$2,145,650,000 (2008)
Auckland Decrease NZ$97,757,000 (2009)
Wellington Increase NZ$58,926,000 (2009)
South Island Increase NZ$167,331,000 (2008)
Auckland Decrease NZ$3,210,000 (2008)
Wellington Increase NZ$-9,056,000 (2009)
South Island Decrease NZ$-2,359,000
Total assets Auckland NZ$1,466,550,000 (2008)
Wellington NZ$700,487,000 (2009)
South Island NZ$732,608,000 (2008)
Total equity Auckland NZ$642,093,000 (2008)
South Island NZ$177,894,000 (2008)

Foodstuffs (officially Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd) is a group of two New Zealand grocery and liquor retailers' cooperatives based in the North Island and the South Island which collectively control an estimated 52% of the New Zealand grocery market. The group owns retail franchises Four Square, New World and Pak'nSave, in-store private labels Pam's and Budget, and a ten percent stake in The Warehouse.[1] The effective duopoly in New Zealand's supermarket industry[2] means that Foodstuffs' only real competitor is Australian supermarket chain Progressive Enterprises.


The first Foodstuffs co-operative was formed in Auckland in 1922. On 6 July 1922, Foodstuffs founder J Heaton Barker called together members of the Auckland Master Grocers' Association to discuss plans for the formation of a co-operative buying group. The buying group expanded in 1925 with the introduction of Four Square branding on members' stores. Similar co-operatives were set up in other parts of the country, with Wellington commencing also in 1922, Christchurch in 1928 and Dunedin in 1948. Initially the buying groups traded under different names but in 1935, the name Foodstuffs was applied to all the original co-operatives.

There have been various mergers between the small regional co-operatives, and until recently there were three co-operative companies: Foodstuffs (Auckland) Ltd; Foodstuffs (Wellington) Co-operative Society Ltd, and Foodstuffs South Island Ltd. Each operated independently and autonomously with its own board of directors, chief executive officer and management structure. There were no common members or shareholders. The organisation has continued to evolve, adopting supermarkets early in their evolution with the formation of the New World group in 1963. The Pak'nSave group began later and the first store was opened in Kaitaia in 1985.

On 7 February 2013 Foodstuffs (Auckland) Ltd and Foodstuffs (Wellington) Co-operative Society Ltd announced that a merger was being planned to bring the two companies together under the name Foodstuffs North Island Ltd. The merged Foodstuffs North Island started trading on September 1, 2013.

Four Square[edit]

Four Square logo

Four Square is a trans-Tasman chain of small scale grocery stores – ranging from small dairies to small supermarkets. During the 1950s the Foodstuffs advertising department designed the famous "Mr 4 Square" who initially appeared only in newspaper advertising and posters, but was developed to become part of the Four Square identity, appearing in every Four Square store and eventually becoming a nationally recognised symbol in New Zealand, remaining famous to this day. The image is often closely associated with the art of New Zealand artist Dick Frizzell, who has used the iconic character in many of his works.

The household name Four Square emerged in the 1920s out of the Foodstuffs grocery buying co-operative. Foodstuffs’ founder, Mr J Heaton Barker, became concerned at the activities of the grocery chain stores of the day that were making life very difficult for independent grocers in Auckland. On 6 July 1922, Heaton Barker called together members of the Auckland Master Grocers Association to discuss plans for the formation of a co-operative buying group of independent grocers.

On 1 April 1925, this buying group registered a company, Foodstuffs Ltd (later Foodstuffs (Auckland) Ltd), the first of the then three regional co-operatives based in Auckland, Wellington (who have since merged) and Christchurch, which now form the Foodstuffs group of co-operatives. The name Four Square emerged when Mr Barker, while talking on the telephone to one of the buying group members on 4 July 1924, drew a square around the 4 of the date on his calendar. He immediately realised he had a suitable name for the buying group, stating that "they would stand ’Four Square’ to all the winds that blew".[3]

By the end of 1924 products were appearing under the Four Square name, and by 1929, discussions were underway on the use of a common branding on stores. Early versions of the Four Square sign were produced in the form of red and gold hand painted glass panels for display in members’ stores. In February 1948, New Zealand's first self-service grocery store was opened in Onehunga by Phil Barker (the son of the founder of the group) and Ray McGregor. This soon became the norm for grocery retailing.

New World[edit]

New World logo

New World is a full-service supermarket chain. Founded in 1963, New World was the first American-style full-service supermarket brand of Foodstuffs, and the second in New Zealand (after Foodtown). There is a total of 137 New World supermarkets across the North and South Islands of New Zealand (as of October 2012). New World stores tend to be smaller (2,500–3,000 square metres (27,000–32,000 sq ft)) and more upscale then their competitors. Prices tend to be higher in most stores, due to the cost of upscale presentation, large employee numbers (200–300 in some large stores), and often a lack of competition, especially in smaller towns. New World has been a member of the Fly Buys programme since the programme started in September 1996; Foodstuffs has a 25% stake in the Fly Buys company.

New World traditionally advertises with a circular containing discounts and specials. Upper North Island "Auto Coupon" weekly specials are available in every transaction, monthly "Coupon" specials are available automatically in the lower North Island, and monthly "Coupon" specials are available with coupon cards in the South Island.

In early 2003 New World helped introduce Superbank, a completely electronic banking network aimed at saving customers money. While New World Supermarkets advertised it in their stores, Superbank didn't have any physical services inside the store. In August 2006 it was announced that after heavy losses Superbank would be shut down and have its portfolio sold to GE Money.

Pak'n Save[edit]

Pak'nSave logo
Main article: Pak'n Save

Pak'n Save is a New Zealand discount supermarket chain owned by the Foodstuffs cooperative. Founded in 1985, Pak'n Save is the most recent of the three current major New Zealand supermarkets (Countdown, New World, and Pak'n Save) to be founded. As of December 2009, there are 49 Pak'n Save stores operating across the North and South Islands of New Zealand (as of October 2012). Stores are large and have a no-frills environment, often with unlined interiors and concrete floors. Customers are also asked to pack their own bags or boxes, and charged for plastic bags in most stores.

Pak'n Save was developed as a result of a trip by a number of Foodstuffs executives to the United States in 1985. On that visit they saw Cub Foods, operated by SuperValu, Pak'n Save operated by Safeway, and a number of other box warehouse supermarkets. Foodstuffs then copied this format in the New Zealand market. The original Pak'n Save format was almost an identical clone of Safeway's Pak 'N' Save chain in Northern California.

The first Pak'n Save opened in 1985, at Kaitaia, Far North in the North Island, and the South Island in 1988 at Invercargill.[citation needed] The biggest Pak'n Save is Lincoln North Pak'n Save in Auckland, which opened in 2004.[citation needed] Stores were opened in the Auckland suburb Mt Wellington in early August 2006 in the new Sylvia Park shopping mall, and on 5 December 2006 in Hawera.


As of December 2009, there are 49 Pak'n Save stores across the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Stores are often located in suburban areas, and are usually open until at least 10 pm. Pak'n Save provides the cardboard boxes used for shipping products to the store, or plastic supermarket bags can be purchased at the checkout for 10 cents at North Island stores. South Island stores charge customers 5 cents per plastic bag. Customers are encouraged to purchase longer-lasting bags or to bring their own.

The stores are laid out as supermarket aisles, but with minimalistic design. Extra products that are not on shelves are stacked above the shelves on the pallets they were delivered in. This means that the floor space can be used for retail and storage. Some stores have self scanning facilities, where the customer scans each item as they put it in their trolley. This reduces waiting time at the checkout, as payment is the only thing that occurs (apart from random re-scans). Conventional checkout operator scanning is also available.

The stores are supplied daily from their co-operative distributor Foodstuffs. Pak'n Save stores often buys stock in bulk. This process means that stores don't offer a wide variety of products as full-service supermarkets – a 2009 Consumer magazine survey noticed this especially in the pet food and toilet paper categories.[4]

Pak'n Save offers fuel discounts to shoppers for spending a qualifying amount on shopping. Pak'n Save stores with on-site Pak'n Save Fuel filling stations offer vouchers to use at these stations. The Pak'n Save Fuel vouchers are unique in that they can only be used at the fuel site associated with the store of purchase, whereas all other New Zealand supermarkets' fuel discount vouchers operate at any participating station across the country. Stores without on-site Pak'n Save Fuel filling stations offer vouchers for use at BP service stations.

On the Spot[edit]

On the Spot is a chain of small-scale grocery stores in the South Island.

Liquor retailers[edit]

Liquorland Northland (part of Foodstuffs North Island) Member stores located in Kaikohe, Kamo, Kensington, Kerikeri, Otaika, Tikipunga and Waipapa.[5]
Liquorland Auckland (part of Foodstuffs North Island) Member stores located in Albany, Beachlands, Forrest Hill, Howick, Pukekohe, Mt Eden, Newmarket, Northcross, Orewa, Papakura, Parnell, Pt Chevalier, Snells Beach, SouthgateTakanini, and Waiheke Island.[6]
Liquorland Waikato (part of Foodstuffs North Island) Member stores located in Cambridge, Dinsdale, Eastside, Morrinsville, Taumaranui, Te Awamutu and Te Kuiti.[7]
Liquorland Southland (part of Foodstuffs South Island) Member stores located in Centrepoint, Gore and South City.[8]
Henry's Beer, Wine & Spirits (part of Foodstuffs South Island) Christchurch member stores located in Barbadoes, Bishopdale, Ferrymead, Hornby, Moorhouse Avenue, New Brighton, Rolleston, Shirley, Tower Junction and Woolston. Dunedin member stores located in the city centre, and Foodlands. Other member stores located in Alexandra, Kaikoura, Queenstown, Rangiora and Timaru.[9]


Gilmours (part of Foodstuffs North Island) Member stores located in Whangarei, Henderson, Mt Roskill, North Shore, Panmure, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Manukau and at[10]
Toops (part of Foodstuffs North Island) Member stores located in Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Ngauranga.[11]
Trents (part of Foodstuffs South Island) Member stores located in Nelson, Blenheim, Greymouth, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin and Invercargill.[12]


  1. ^ Scherer, Karyn (12 April 2010). "Big two supermarket chains locked in fierce food fight". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Kedgley, Sue (14 February 2014). "Sue Kedgley: Supermarket spotlight overdue". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "Mr Four Square: a kiwiana nostalgia trip". Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  4. ^ "Where to find the cheapest groceries". 11 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  5. ^ "Liquorland Store Locator Northland". Foodstuffs. 28 September 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  6. ^ "Liquorland Store Locator Auckland". Foodstuffs. 28 September 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  7. ^ "Liquorland Store Locator Waikato". Foodstuffs. 28 September 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  8. ^ "Liquorland Store Locator Southland". Foodstuffs. 28 September 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  9. ^ "Henry's Store Locator". Foodstuffs. 28 September 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  10. ^ "Store Locator". Gilmour. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  11. ^ "Toops". Toops. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  12. ^ "Store Locator". Trents. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 

External links[edit]