Mr. Alan and Mrs. Andrea Buchanan
In conversation with Mr. Alan and Mrs. Andrea Buchanan, Gropak Limited, New Zealand
‘Alan and I have owned and operated Gropak Limited since 1997. We began with several shareholders and now own it wholly ourselves.
Gropak Limited procures, washes, packs, markets and distributes prepacked fresh potatoes to the Foodstuffs Supermarket Chain in New Zealand 12 months of the year , procuring product from 3 different geographical locations in the North Island. Gropak packs and markets a variety of sizes ranging from 1kg – 5 kg in prepacks.
The potato market in New Zealand has changed over the last 5 years with movement towards niche products with defined target markets .The Potato market is becoming more sophisticated in taste, presentation and knowledge of health benefits.
Potatoes are the No.1 vegetable in New Zealand, with annual consumption of fresh potatoes per capita in 2013 22.89kg, with 94.5% of the population consuming potatoes , and 94% preparing fresh potatoes at least once per week.
$119 Million NZD of Fresh Potatoes is purchased annually with the core buyer being 55+ age-group and in a 1-2 person household. The most common methods of preparing fresh potatoes is mashing, roasting and boiling.
Our favourite variety is Carrera. This is because of its Low carb characteristics coupled with great colour , texture and taste, which makes this potato very easy to market and gain consumer re-purchase. It has also allowed Gropak to be the first to market in New Zealand with a Low carb potato.
Being a new age potato , the Carrera with its low carbohydrate qualities will hopefully bring those New Zealanders that have substituted potatoes with other products , because of carbohydrates , back to eating potatoes more often.
This is our greatest challenge, reaching the consumer and educating the consumer on the health benefits of the SUNLITE brand and creating pull through demand so that the stores stock the product on a daily basis, 12 months of the year, because of increasing consumer demand.
HZPC has been of immense help to Gropak; in helping with marketing information as well as agronomy. HZPC is a very forward thinking company, who we hope in the future to make our relationship even stronger.’