If you were hoping to see the country's largest supermarket chain follow overseas trends and use Uber Eats to deliver your food you're going be out of luck - for now.
While it may be nice to have a hot rotisserie chicken or the milk that you missed off the shopping list delivered to your door, Lindsay Rowles, Foodstuffs' North Island general manager of retail membership and property, says it will likely be a while before consumers can order groceries or an ingredient through Uber.
Uber Eats' rise has made the supermarket owner, which operates main brands Pak'nSave, New World, Four Square and Gilmours stores among others, watch it closely, but Rowles says it is still not viable for supermarkets or independent shops such as newsagents to be on the platform.
"At the moment, nobody makes money out of doing it. If they were to make it commercially viable, the customer would want to pay for it," Rowles says.
"A lot of supermarket retailers are trying this last-mile solution but there are commercial quality issues around that, and at what cost to the customer.
"We have our online solution in New World where we are getting good feedback and data out of how that works, and where we might possibly take that. We're watching a number of retailers deal with platforms like Uber Eats, watching very closely as to what the outcome might be."
Supermarket chain Coles - Australia's second-largest retailer - recently teamed up with Uber Eats to have its ready-to-eat meals and ready-to-heat products such as frozen chicken nuggets delivered. In March, it expanded to essentials such as bread and milk.
In the United States, more random items are popping up on the app, such as popcorn from the local cinema round the corner.
Coles' partnership with Uber Eats is mainstream acknowledgement of consumers' changing shopping habits.
Rowles is not ruling out Foodstuffs doing the same. However, if it was to partner with Uber Eats it would likely offer complete meals on the platform. "If you think about the cost of an Uber driving from a store to your home, the value add is that the whole meal is cooked for you, so the transport cost becomes a small proportion of the fully prepared meal."
Rowles says the cost to deliver single products would be high and customers would likely not be willing to dip into their pockets for the sake of convenience.
"The intelligence we have out of the market is that the cost base is too high for the customer," Rowles says.
"Retailers are struggling to see how to do it in a way that the customer is willing to pay for."
Australian-born Rowles leads a team of 185 people, nine of whom report directly to him.
Rowles spent most of his life in Ballarat, just outside Melbourne, but three years ago he and his partner Eddie made the move across the Tasman from Sydney to Auckland to take on the role of general manager of property.
About six months ago, the company's North Island business merged its retail and property divisions and so he moved into the role of general manager for membership and commercial, leading both divisions.
Foodstuffs' North Island business is made up of 22,000 people and 8000 in the South Island.
Rowles works long hours, in fact he says he has not worked just an eight-hour day for 15 years. A typical day for him includes spending a decent chunk of time in meetings with his executive team covering where the business is going, daily directions and addressing any "red flags" around feedback coming out of stores, such as supply and people issues. He then usually meets a group of stakeholders.
He says working for a company the size of Foodstuffs had taught him to "plan that the plan probably isn't going to go quite how you think it is".
A co-operative business, Rowles says he spends a lot of time engaging with the North Island business' 300 owner-operators.
Both islands combined, 680 owner-operators run the Foodstuffs network of supermarkets throughout the country. But Rowles says there's no 3000-page operating manual for newcomers buying into the company.
There is, however, a lengthy recruitment-assessment process which he says is tough to get through. It assess hopeful store owners on their resilience, experience and capacity to take on the mammoth task of running a supermarket.
Then there is the training programme (two intakes per year) operators have to go through - the length of time depends on the person's background and experience.
The 45-year-old says it is unusual to see a new person come through "from the outside" within a 12-month period. Once qualified to be an owner-operator, there is usually a wait for a store to become available.
There is also a hierarchy system that owner-operates have to work through the ranks before they can own big-box Pak'nSave stores. Typically, an owner's first store is a Four Square in a regional town.
Foodstuffs will open three New World stores, three Four Squares and refurbish one Gilmours store this year.
Rowles has worked on both sides of the Tasman. He has also worked on both sides of competition.
Before he immigrated to New Zealand, Rowles worked for the "green guys" - market rival Woolworths which operates supermarket chain Countdown - in the ASX-listed company's property divison. He worked there for eight years.
Before that, he worked for German discount supermarket chain Aldi for eight years. He started out in a retail operations role in 2000 and then was promoted to property director tasked with rolling out the brand in Melbourne, and later throughout Australia.
He spent six years as property director in his 20s securing locations for new Aldi stores and overseeing the building and opening of the stores.
He also worked in retail at convenience store chains Mobil and BP during university where he studied commerce and law at Deacon University in Geelong.
He says he has no intel on whether Aldi will or wants to launch in New Zealand.
Foodstuffs is exploring new technologies which it hopes to implement to increase convenience and improve the shopping experience for consumers.
For the past three months it has been trialling drive-through shopping at Pak'nSave Albany whereby a customer can order online and have their groceries loaded into the car. Rowles says the company is "investigating" whether this can be implemented and rolled out nationwide to Pak'nSave stores around the country.
He says Foodstuffs looks to retailers in overseas markets for inspiration on what technology to trial or implement here. At present, it is watching Walmart's use of robots that scan shelves and identify stock levels.
A number of the innovations Foodstuffs is looking to implement in stores would be beneficial behind the scenes, Rowles says.
Data and how it can use the information it collects from its customers to improve the overall shopping experience is a big focus at present. It is also looking at how it can use technology to reduce friction in stores.
"There's a number of solutions on that around the world at the moment that we're watching very closely."
How stores are laid out is now also being driven by data, Rowles says.
Other technologies on its radar include Amazon Go-type image recognition in shopping baskets, and widespread implementation of electronic shelf labelling.
Rowles says Foodstuffs has started to come into contact with geo-tagging which can be connected to smartphones, which has the potential to get shoppers through a store in the shortest amount of time. It is also looking into the developments around electronic shelf labelling which can now carry a location tracker that can be linked to an app and flash to highlight a product on a shelf.
Foodstuffs South Island has introduced scanned systems on trolleys at some stores.
"Whilst we don't have a landed answer yet, that's the space we want to play in."
The recent plastic bag ban was felt throughout the Foodstuffs network and, like for other retailers in this country, it was no easy feat. It was an 18-month exit, Rowles says.
Foodstuffs tried to start charging for bags in its supermarkets 10 years ago but rival Woolworths NZ, formerly Progressive Enterprises, did not follow so it scrapped its efforts.
An unexpected result of the plastic bag ban which came into effect at the start of the month was the number of shopping baskets that keep going missing, though Rowles says it had not been a problem that "caused a loss of sleep".
"Versus the media I saw occurring in Australia, I think Kiwis got on with it," he says.
"They were ready for it."
The grocery veteran says the sector is competitive and ever-changing. It has changed leaps and bounds, even within the three years he has been at Foodstuffs, he says.
"New Zealanders have changed, and they're not going back.
"Food is a product we all value, and a good-quality experiences is what society values more. We see that come through in products - how well a product photographs when you put it on the table is now something people think about; this socialisation of food is here to stay and the experience associated with."
People dining out more frequently has undoubtedly effected the grocery business, and as a result supermarkets are increasingly moving to leverage consumers' desire for an experience.
"That experience and convenience part is more important than it has ever been."
• Age: 45.
• Job: Foodstuffs North Island general manager of membership and property.
• Education: Bachelor of commerce, bachelor of law from Deakin University in Geelong, Australia.
• Family: Partner, Eddie.
• Last book you read: Open Secret by Stella Rimington.
• Last film/TV series you watched: My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman and What If on Netflix.
• Last holiday: Hong Kong and Taiwan.
• Biggest challenge facing your sector: "Moving fast enough to address changing customer wants and needs."