NZ’s pioneer organic grocery business celebrates 45 years

Forty-five is still considered young these days. In human years anyway. But when it comes to tenure in retail, 45 years is a ripe old age. Not many retail organisations in New Zealand can boast a near half-century in operation, but Chantal Organics can. The Hawke’s Bay-based organic grocery business, started by locals in the 70s, celebrates its 45th birthday this year, and it’s here to stay.

Chantal Organics started life in 1978 when Napier couple, Maureen Ward and Peter Alexander, set up a co-operative of families who wanted to source organic and natural wholefoods that were not available in supermarkets. Back then organic food was seen as niche, the domain of the hippies. No one could have predicted then that demand for this “fringe food” would grow into a global market worth over $215,000 million.

Maureen and Peter were trailblazers for their time and influential in spearheading the organics movement in New Zealand. In 1983, when demand began to grow, they joined forces with friends and set up as a business; opening the Chantal shop in Napier. They stayed at the helm up for 33 more years, driving and evolving the business, before handing the reins to daughter Tess Alexander-Ward and partner Tim Stevens.

In 2016 the shop was separated from the wholesale arm of the business – Chantal Organics – which was bought by Peter Kraus Group, owner of Ecostore. Losing none of its organic ethos, the business went from strength to strength and now employs 40 people across the country, with offices in Napier and Auckland. It operates in retail and wholesale with a wide range of packaged and bulk foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. Their award-winning organic spreads and cereals are still locally produced in the Hawke’s Bay. And with a network of more than 200 organic growers in NZ, Chantal Organics provides fresh seasonal produce to New Zealanders.

Chantal Organics CEO Pablo Kraus says: “Forty-five years is a major milestone for Chantal Organics. It was and continues to be a pioneer of the organics movement in this country. We are so thankful to our wonderful team, who work so hard and help keep the business true to its roots, and for our loyal customers over the past 45 years for supporting the organic mission in Aotearoa. We are honored to be here supporting the health and well-being of New Zealanders.”


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First published by VOXY. Click here to read the full article.