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Introducing 155 Whare Kai, A Social Supermarket For Whangārei

Liz Cassidy-Nelson and Willa Hand

Liz Cassidy-Nelson and Willa Hand

155 Whare Kai is open to provide food support with dignity.

The social supermarket is a partnership between 155 Whare Āwhina and Foodstuffs North Island.

Social supermarkets enable people who are experiencing food insecurity to choose what they need for themselves in a supermarket-style environment – rather than collecting a pre-filled food parcel from the foodbank, that might not meet their specific needs.

155 Whare Āwhina’s CEO Liz Cassidy-Nelson says today is an exciting day for 155 Whare Āwhina and their community whānau.

“Here at 155, we do all we can to challenge injustice, inspire change and lead innovation locally. The past few years have been tough for so many, yet I’m constantly inspired by the resilience of our community. Now they can choose kai for their whare with dignity and mana, which is everyone’s right."

Cassidy-Nelson says the support from Foodstuffs North Island has been fantastic. We are so grateful to have them as a partner on this innovative project. 

"They have been wonderful and incredible in sharing their expertise, knowledge and resources every step of the way.”

The social supermarket, 155 Whare Kai, is located at 3 Woods Road in Whangārei and is an extension of the wrap-around community services we already provide for whānau.

155 Whare Kai will operate in a way that offers groceries to shoppers at a low or no cost, using a points system rather than a recommended retail price. Shoppers have the flexibility and freedom to choose their own items from a wide selection of food and essentials – accessing a hand-up rather than a hand-out through a dignified shopping experience.

This is Foodstuffs’ fourth social supermarket partnership, following the success of the Wellington City Mission Social Supermarket, Te Hiku Pātaka in Kaitaia – which is a partnership with Te Kahu Oranga Whānau and Tokoroa Social Supermarket, in partnership with Buttabean Motivation.

Willa Hand, Head of Membership Experience at Foodstuffs North Island says that each social supermarket is different, and uniquely tailored to the needs of the local community.

“That’s what makes this model work – our Foodstuffs’ team brings retail expertise, we support on all the logistics of setting up a supermarket, training a team to operate it, and sorting replenishment processes – but it’s the local community organisation who decides exactly how things will run and what the offering will be for customers."

“Having strong local leadership who connect deeply with people in their community is what really makes a difference. Foodstuffs North Island is a 100% NZ owned co-operative, with individual grocers operating stores in their local community, we believe deeply in the power of local leadership and empowering people to make decisions that are right for their community.”

Foodstuffs North Island plans to roll out its social supermarket initiatives to more communities in the year ahead, and work is underway with community partners in a number of other regions.
The social supermarket programme is part of Foodstuffs’ pledge to be Here for NZ, helping to ensure all New Zealanders have access to healthy affordable food and supporting local communities to thrive.

Learn more about Foodstuffs commitment to be Here for NZ.