In a groundbreaking move set to revolutionize New Zealand's grocery landscape, Foodstuffs North Island (FSNI) and Foodstuffs South Island (FSSI) have announced a proposal to merge into one national co-operative.
The announcement, made on Tuesday by the Boards of both co-operatives, promises a seamless shopping experience for customers and exciting opportunities for innovation.
This ambitious endeavour, scheduled for a vote in mid-2024, aims to combine the strengths of both co-operatives, ensuring that customers and stakeholders reap significant benefits.
Russell McKenzie, Chair of Foodstuffs South Island, expressed the vision behind the merger.
“By combining the very best ways of doing things from each co-op and forming one national business, we have an opportunity to reduce complexity, duplication, and additional costs.
"Ultimately, this will make us more efficient and able to deliver more innovation and better value for New Zealanders.”
If approved, the merger will result in a unified leadership team. Mary Devine, CEO of Foodstuffs South Island, will guide the co-operatives through the transition but has opted not to be considered for the new co-operative's CEO position. The proposed new co-operative's Board will be chaired by Russell McKenzie, with Chris Quin, CEO of Foodstuffs North Island, assuming the role of CEO-designate.
This merger aims to retain the co-operatives' unique identity as 100% New Zealand-owned entities while streamlining governance and operations.
The beloved brands under Foodstuffs, including PAK'nSAVE, New World, Four Square, and Gilmours in the North Island, and PAK'nSAVE, New World, Four Square, Raeward Fresh, On the Spot, and Trents in the South Island, will continue to thrive.
Dean Waddell, Chair of Foodstuffs North Island, emphasised the collaborative spirit driving this initiative.
“This proposal is driven by an ambitious goal for the future.
"By merging, we can become the best grocery co-operative in the world, owned by the best grocery retailers and wholesalers delivering the best experience and value to New Zealanders.”
Members of both co-operatives will have their say in this transformative decision during Special General Meetings in June next year.
The co-operatives are actively engaging with the Commerce Commission, seeking clearance for the merger. If successful, a carefully planned transition will integrate the co-operatives into a single, efficient organization.
“Now is the right time to consider this," McKenzie assured.
"With simpler, more efficient ways of operating, we can collectively invest in our future, build resilience, be competitive, and deliver the rapid innovation and value New Zealanders deserve.”
As the co-operatives embark on this exciting journey, New Zealanders can anticipate a future where grocery shopping is not only convenient and efficient but also driven by a shared commitment to excellence.