We sat down with Huckleberry's category managers Kim and Debby. They gave us a quick behind the scenes peek into the exciting world of health, beauty, and food.
At Huckleberry, we don’t believe that choosing ‘organic' is just about choosing to eat better quality food. We think it’s a bit bigger than that. We think that choosing organic is about making positive, healthful and sustainable lifestyle choices that are better for ourselves, our families and the planet.
So let's dive in...
Q: What are some of the key factors you’re considering when taking on a new product?
Debby - Grocery: Is it organic? At the end of the day, we’re an organic grocer, that said, where ever possible we also support products that have made the effort or are intending to sit within that space.
Is it affordable for our customers? We believe organics should be for everyone!
Some other important factors we look at is labelling. When it comes to ingredients, we tend to be quite strict on what is presented on the actual label. It's important to us that our customers can trust that what they’re picking off our shelves is good for them and the environment.
Kim - Health & Beauty: Is this something I would be happy to use, eat or put on my body? It’s also really important to us that the companies we deal with have the same ethos and desire to provide great products. That their practices have no harmful effects on the environment and are cruelty-free. For example, GM (genetically modified) ingredients are a deal-breaker for us.
We want to see transparency with manufacturing, processing and labelling and that ingredients comply with our standards in both the health and beauty category. Sustainable practices are what we support.
Q: How many New Zealand brands does Huckleberry currently work with?
Debby - Grocery: From the grocery side, we’re working with at least 200 New Zealand brands. We love working with local businesses and as we grow we want them to grow with us. This also helps us reduce our carbon footprint, as opposed to getting products from overseas. But saying that, we do import a small number of products that we aren’t able to find in the New Zealand market - yet.
Kim - Health & Beauty: We work with as many as we possibly can – with health supplements we are limited with the availability as there is not a large number of products being manufactured in New Zealand but we try to support local business so we can grow together.
Q: What is the craziest product you’ve sampled to date?
Debby - Grocery: Mmhh tricky one, our suppliers usually don’t get too crazy with what they present to us. But if I were to choose, I’d say cricket powder. It’s a significant source for protein and vitamins but I just couldn’t get it out of my head for a while after sampling it.
Kim - Health & Beauty: Like Debby, the craziest product I’ve tried so far is cricket flour-based cookies and crackers. I preferred the savory option – it just seemed right. Insect based products have been predicted by some to be a perfect high-protein solution for the human race in the future…. Time will tell to see if this will “fly”? (pardon the pun)
Q: Tell us about one of your favourite products?
Debby - Grocery: My recent favorite are the Organic Serious Cookies. It’s certified organic, vegan, gluten-free & palm oil free – all the goodies in one bite! Serving size is 1 cookie (I know right...) but I could easily finish the whole pack in one sitting trust me it’s that good!
Kim - Health & Beauty: Oh, there’s so many – I guess anyone who knows me well, knows that dark chocolate runs through my veins – and that’s because I eat so much of it! - certified organic, fair trade and the darker the better.
Q: What do you love about our customers?
Debby - Grocery: Our customers are very engaging, most of them see shopping in our stores as an experience rather than a chore. They are very passionate about health and sustainability, hence why I appreciate when they suggest new products they’ve tried elsewhere that might be an opportunity for us or feedback on how we could do better at all aspects of the business.
Kim - Health & Beauty: That they care about the products we stock, and trust that what they find on the shelf has been scrutinized to meet a high standard.
Q: What are some exciting new products to look forward to?
Debby - Grocery: We’ve got some really exciting Christmas products coming through, I’m going to keep it a secret for now but I’d suggest popping into stores during the festive season to find out yourself.
Kim - Health & Beauty: Products with reduced plastic packaging is something I’m really excited about and we are seeing a positive turn towards different solutions. We now have a large range of body care products in hair care, deodorants, and face and body care that are leading the way and I anticipate this practice will increase in popularity. I can’t wait to see what’s next!