30 Years of nourishing people and the planet
- Type: Retail and Wholesale
More than just a grocery store, Huckleberry is a close community of individuals united by their passion for organic, healthy, and sustainable products.
Huckleberry is a leading New Zealand organic grocer, with a focus on wellness and sustainability. They've been dedicated to providing the best local, organic produce, sustainable meat and fish, and grocery staples for over 30 years.
Traditionally a brick and mortar retail operation, Huckleberry’s multiple locations to date are spread across the Auckland area.
Huckleberry is more than a grocery store - the brand represents a close community of individuals united by our passion for organic, healthy, and sustainable products. Their commitment to ethical sourcing, environmental responsibility, and promoting healthy living is at the company's core, fostering a unique and trusted shopping experience.
Since 2022, new owners Mathew Hughes and Darren Guo (2121 Group) have been dedicated to addressing several problems, including the lack of access to healthy and affordable organic food in our communities, the high cost of organic and natural products, the negative impact of conventional farming practices, harmful packaging and overproduction on the environment.
The new management team has immediately impacted the financial health and growth outlook of the business. In securing the first ever wholesale deal with Woolworths New Zealand, they provide access to a greater product range, at better prices, at a time when Kiwi households are facing significant (+8% in 2022 alone) increases in the cost of living.
With a focus on a seamless shopping experience across all channels , Huckleberry has a comprehensive strategy in place to grow their footprint across New Zealand and the globe.
Huckleberry first opened in Auckland in the 1990s and has been a pioneer in promoting natural and organic products in New Zealand. Their values and beliefs have remained unchanged for over 30 years, and they continue to innovate and lead the way towards a better food future in Aotearoa. Now, at this pivotal point in their growth journey, Huckleberry’s ownership and management team are excited to share ownership of the brand with their community. Funds raised will support their expansion plans, investing in technology platforms, accelerate marketing initiatives, and ensure the necessary working capital to develop product range, people, and superior operations.
- Iconic Brand Built over 30 Years
Huckleberry ﬁrst opened in Auckland in the 1990s and has been a pioneer in promoting natural and organic products in New Zealand. The firm’s values and beliefs have remained unchanged for over 30 years, and Huckleberry continues to innovate and lead the way towards a better food future in Aotearoa.
As a well-established brand with a loyal customer base, Huckleberry boasts over 98,000 active customers, with a high repeat purchase rate of 64%, indicating stable customer satisfaction and loyalty. Online and social media presence is growing, with 34,000 followers, including 15,000 on Instagram, and a large email database of 52,000 subscribers. This gives us an eﬀective and eﬀicient way to reach and engage customers.
- Thriving Industry with Strong Growth
New Zealand is in the grips of a cost of living crisis. To add insult to injury, a 2022 Commerce Commission review of the grocery industry highlighted a lack of competition, driving adverse outcomes for Kiwi consumers. As a result, the New Zealand government committed to a raft of initiatives to support greater competition in the space, to support the 1.8m Kiwi households who are at the heart of a $25b market and growing.
Cost aside, Huckleberry are aiming to solve a number of problems related to consumer health, including the lack of access to affordable organic food, the high cost of organic and natural products, and the negative impact of conventional farming practices, harmful packaging and overproduction on the environment.
- Innovator in a Sector Ripe for Disruption
With government support for increased competition in grocery, there is an opportunity for an innovator with a fresh approach to take share. Huckleberry is in competition with niche retailers offering a differentiated, wellness-focused product range. As many as 81% of New Zealanders reported purchasing organic products at least fortnightly in 2020 as they sought more natural, healthier produce free from residues and sprays. With incumbents in the sector slow to adopt digital channels, Huckleberry aims to take share via a cohesive, omnichannel strategy leveraging a superior in store experience to drive repeat online purchasing activity.
- Strong Early Performance Metrics
After acquiring the business in FY22, 2121 Group have had demonstrable success in bringing a beloved Kiwi brand into the modern age. Through a digital transformation, margin optimisation and a new operating model, the management team have successfully turned around the business from losing ~$120k/mth to being EBITDA positive in December 2022. In addition, the team was able to secure the first ever wholesale supply agreement with Woolworths New Zealand.
Having laid a strong foundation, Huckleberry forecast that their cohesive new strategy could drive revenue growth to $20m (and positive NPAT) by FY25 and beyond.
- Multiple Levers for Growth
Huckleberry’s strategic focus areas - developing a winning omnichannel customer experience and deep supply chain capabilities - are key to the growth forecasts. With NZ online grocery sales set to exceed brick and mortar by 2029, Huckleberry will aim to grow online sales to 57% of group revenue by FY27 to take advantage of this structural shift.
Expanding their direct relationships with growers and suppliers will allow them to directly impact local businesses, bring more value to customers and optimise their margin structure, as well as offer a range of quality products under the Huckleberry brand. Leveraging these new products, there is an opportunity to expand the Huckleberry footprint by exporting high-quality New Zealand products to new markets across the US, South East Asia and Australia.
Huckleberry's growth strategy is centred around an aspirational 5-year exit target via IPO or acquisition. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods for USD $13.7b and Apollo Global Management’s acquisition of Fresh Market for USD $1.4b are examples of the type of exits that have been achieved in the space.
- Experienced and Accomplished Management Team
Huckleberry is currently wholly owned and operated by the 2121 Group, led by experienced operators Mathew Hughes and Darren Guo. Mat was the co-founder of a leading Kiwi retail fit out business, while Darren, Huckleberry CEO, has a proven track record in implementing new technologies and digital transformation strategies.
Why Equity Crowdfunding?
The Huckleberry brand has had a place in the hearts and minds of sustainably focused Kiwi consumers for the last 30 years. As initiatives like Huckleberry Market Days, Artisan Discovery Program and the Huckleberry Collective Program attest, community is at the heart of everything they do.
The decision to raise capital via Equity Crowdfunding was an extension of this, in order to give their community an opportunity to be a part of their journey.
Register your interest now to learn how to become a part-owner in Huckleberry.