Little Island, a plant-based alternative company co-founded by two Hawke's Bay locals, plans to acquire a coconut yogurt business, in spite of economic pressures of Covid-19.
The company, based in Auckland, was co-founded in 2010 by James Crow and Tommy Holden.
They launched a $2 million public capital raise to support the acquisition of the coconut yogurt business and drive further growth, via online investment platform Snowball Effect.
With the addition of the yoghurt business, Little Island will have the largest solely plant-based offering in New Zealand, across categories, to complement its broad range of premium, sustainable dairy alternative products.
Little Island was formed because there was a consumer need for a food and beverage producer focused on sustainable and ethical plant-based alternatives. Little Island's product range sold more than one million units sold in the 2020 financial year, with revenue of $5.7m.
Co-founder and non-executive director Crow said that changing consumer behaviour had increased demand for Little Island products.
"Due to the lockdown, we've certainly seen a shift in consumer behaviour with people spending more time cooking from scratch in their own kitchens," he said.
"Kiwi consumers are still looking to create moments of indulgence by replicating an out-of-home food service experience in the comfort of their own homes. We believe this will likely remain part of their routine going forward."
Crow said Kiwis were making a "concerted effort" to support local brands and products.
"There has been a rapidly growing NZ-made movement with many Kiwis making a concerted effort to support local brands and products," he said.
Little Island has strong links to the region with the company using a 'The Milk Kitchen' in Whakatu, exclusively, to produce all the milk.
Co-founder Crow lives in Ahuriri, Napier and is also involved in community support through Gimme Shelter (the independent advocacy group he founded in 2015 for homelessness in New Zealand).
He was recently announced as one of two Green Party candidates standing in the Hawke's Bay electorate this year.