Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Kiwi coffee innovator to supply Aussie supermarket chain

Managing directors of Avalanche Coffee Paul Tobin (left) and Stefan Marusich spent 14 months developing their blend of freeze-dried instant and fresh roasted coffee. Photo / Dean Purcell
Managing directors of Avalanche Coffee Paul Tobin (left) and Stefan Marusich spent 14 months developing their blend of freeze-dried instant and fresh roasted coffee. Photo / Dean Purcell

Auckland coffee firm Avalanche has secured a lucrative deal with Coles - Australia's second biggest supermarket operator - winning approval to stock its products in the retailer's 757 stores.

Multi-national coffee brands tended to dominate the Australian supermarket shelves, Co-founder Stefan said, so it was a particularly big achievement for a small New Zealand brand to break into the market.

"We got into every single one of Coles' stores," Marusich said. "They obviously see the potential in the product."

The Aussie retailer will be stocking the West Auckland-based brand's latest product - Duo, a blend of freeze-dried instant and fresh roasted coffee, which will also be available in New Zealand supermarkets.

Marusich said Avalanche had spent about 14 months developing the product, which comes in a medium and dark roast.

"It's got the convenience of instant but it tastes pretty similar to a plunger coffee," he said.

Marusich said a similar product had been launched overseas by another company and gained a huge amount of market share in a short space of time.

Robert Harris also released an instant/fresh coffee blend, called Fusio, in New Zealand earlier this year.

Carl Sara, president of the New Zealand Specialty Coffee Association, said it was a huge accomplishment for Avalanche and particularly impressive that a local firm was able to supply the demands of a supermarket chain with more than 700 stores.

His association had been formed around seven years ago with the aim of reducing the amount of roasted coffee being imported into this country, Sara said.

"It's fantastic to see the tables are now starting to be turned."

New Zealand exported $2.8 million worth of coffee last year, up from $2.1 million in 2011, according to Statistics NZ.

Avalanche came 22nd in last year's Deloitte's Fast 50 index of fast growing New Zealand companies, with revenue growth of 283.33 per cent.

- NZ Herald

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