oob expand over the ditch

September 8, 2014

Congratulations to one of our longest running clients, oob organic on a win with Coles Supermarkets in Australia.

Here’s the article taken from stuff.co.nz:

OOB, the award-winning organic berry and icecream company from Northland, has just taken another major step in its export strategy.

The first OOB organic frozen blueberries and mixed berries have just gone on sale in 750 Coles supermarkets across Australia.

This follows sales to 860 Woolworths Australian stores begun in 2012. The products have proved to be so popular, sales are growing by more than 45 per cent a year.

OOB owner Robert Auton said the new business had helped add another 30 per cent to turnover. “Now that we are supplying more than 1600 supermarkets in Australia, we expect to ship more than 500 tonnes of fruit this financial year.”

Robert and Shannon Auton established OOB over a decade ago, in an orchard near Omaha, Northland. Starting with organic blueberries, they gradually expanded into mixed berries and a range of organic ice cream.

“Back in 2012 we invested in equipment capable of handling very large volumes of frozen fruit,” Robert Auton said. “Even with this new distribution channel, we will still have room for extra capacity, which means we can continue to explore additional export opportunities. In the meantime, we expect to add several staff to the team.”

With New Zealand growers unable to provide enough fruit to meet the increased demand, and the new Coles contract in place, the Autons needed to significantly expand their partnerships with international organic orchards.

They already have a relationship with a big grower in Chile, and Auton recently returned from North America, where he signed agreements with some of the largest organic blueberry farms in the world.

Securing a supply from the northern hemisphere ensured that OOB could deliver the quantities of berries required by Coles, Woolworths and their other stockists – in New Zealand, Singapore and Perth – all year round.

Auton said they planned to develop sales of the current variants before introducing any new products to Coles. “If the organic trends continue on the current pathway, then the introduction of our organic ice cream would make good sense.

“Our strategy has always been export-oriented, as the New Zealand market is small for a premium product. This new business with Coles fits in perfectly with our brand growth plans in Australia.”