A Berlin-headquartered global meal-kit business has opened a new hub in Auckland where the local boss says meals can be packed in just 10 seconds.
HelloFresh, which claims to be the United States' largest meal-kit provider, began working from a new 6200sq m warehouse/distribution centre on a site of almost 1ha in Mt Wellington on January 30.
Tom Rutledge, HelloFresh NZ chief executive, said the business had been in Clemow Dr but expanded and installed new technology at the premises on Leon Leicester Ave.
All that means a meal kit box to be packed in just 10 seconds, around a third faster than previously.
"It's substantially quicker in the new location," he said, adding that the business was operating with more precision at its new home.
HelloFresh, which has 2.6m customers, says the move marks its expansion in New Zealand and HelloFresh leased the five-year-old property from James Kirkpatrick for eight years.
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"The new distribution centre will enable the company to expand its product range and delivery into more regions around the country. This will see the company increase their number of New Zealand employees by up to 50 per cent," a company statement said.
HelloFresh SE has operations in Canada, Western Europe including Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. It listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange with an IPO in three years ago.
The business launched here in September 2018 and claims to have rapid growth throughout the North Island. Previously, the business was in other Mt Wellington premises. Meal kits range from around $80 to $189, he said.
Classic boxes cost up to $189 for five recipes for four people, veggie boxes up to $129.99 for three recipes for four people and family boxes up to $165 for five recipes for four people.
Rutledge said the new hub would allow the company to expand its regional distribution to other parts of New Zealand, diversify its current product portfolio and to sell more.
"This is a manufacturing facility. We pack boxes full of groceries which we've received in a retail-ready format," he said.
"Further growth will allow us to expand production volumes and give fresh local produce and meat suppliers greater opportunities," he said.
The packing hub and warehouse can maintain temperatures for fresh food and ingredients in zones from -20 to +21 degrees, he said.
"We're not cooking there but pulling together different ingredients," he said.
The new machinery is also enabling higher customisation, meaning people can select more options and tailor-make their box according to their preferences, Rutledge said.
The machinery came from here and overseas and is essentially production lines staffed by people, he said, not robots.
Last month, HelloFresh customers complained they were charged for deliveries they say they cancelled.
Some families say they had to throw out the meals which turned up unexpectedly, but HelloFresh said there was no glitch with its ordering system.
HelloFresh said it was confident its system was blameless.
"We've investigated the issue and can confirm there was no glitch with our ordering system, however, we do know from experience that there are several customers each week who do not save changes when they manage their delivery preferences including pauses," a company spokesperson said.