Organic grocer Huckleberry is gearing up to increase its market share and take on New Zealand's supermarket giants.

The small supermarket chain, which has 11 stores across the North Island, hopes to have a nationwide presence in the next five years.

In the last 18 months, Huckleberry has opened five stores including its largest in Browns Bay, complete with a yoga studio, cafe and children's play area.

"We want to be nationwide, we want to have a decent footprint and offer services and experiences that people aren't getting at the moment," Huckleberry chief executive Richard Lees said.


"We're restricted to a degree by some of the availability of organics, and making sure that they are certified products but that's starting to come online [now]."

At present, it has stores in Auckland, Napier, Tauranga and Mount Maunganui.

When we opened Browns Bay, the second @thenestnz opened too, just upstairs! We’re so excited to open our second yoga...

Posted by Huckleberry on Monday, 9 July 2018

Huckleberry has been trialling the sizes, features and services in its stores over the past few years.

"There are three new sites that we have our eye on but we just need to do more work to make sure that those sites are going to work," Lees said.

"For now, we need to get everything working properly from a supply chain piece."

Long term, Huckleberry wants to be New Zealand's leading organic supermarket.

"People are looking for more than just a supermarket where you go. They want an interaction, a reason, and you've got to add value to the person who does come and visit."

New Zealand's organic sector has grown 30 per cent over the past two years to an estimated value of $600 million, led by a 42 per cent jump in exports.


⭐️ AND WE’RE OPEN ⭐️ Thank you for your patience Browns Bay! Our Clyde Road store opened yesterday and all of our staff...

Posted by Huckleberry on Friday, 29 June 2018

The market is the fastest growing multi-food sector in the world, according to Organics Aotearoa New Zealand and is on track to become a $1 billion industry.

The Ministry for Primary Industries is looking at developing a national organic standard for the country, to bolster consumer confidence in organic products and implement a regulatory system on the same footing as many other countries.

Lees said demand for organic produce was growing, and Kiwis had become conscious of where their money is being spent.

"Organics is in such an interesting place and it's changing so fast," he said.

Huckleberry chief executive Richard Lees. Photo / Supplied
Huckleberry chief executive Richard Lees. Photo / Supplied

"This is not a phase or a fad, it's a direction that people are moving in.

"There's an age group of people coming through who are so conscious about what they want and conscious about demanding what they're looking for from business."

Huckleberry stores have naturopaths and refill hubs for consumers to bring their own containers to stock up on bulk items. It also has an initiative to promote customers to bring their own cups to get a 50 cent discount on coffee purchases.

"It's a completely different way of shopping, a different experience. There's a lot of things in our stores that you won't get somewhere else and its that experience and breadth of offer; it isn't just about selling you a tin of something."

ShareClarity managing director Daniel Kieser said there were several hurdles Huckleberry would have to overcome to become a full-service supermarket.

"Whole Foods Market was recently acquired by Amazon who are looking at rolling out supermarkets in Australia and therefore, possibly, New Zealand. This could potentially introduce a new competitor to the organic supermarkets, or the prospect of a possible acquirer."

Huckleberry employs 240 people throughout its network of stores.