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HomeINDUSTRY INSIGHTFrom markets to supermarkets: the tale of Forty Thieves

From markets to supermarkets: the tale of Forty Thieves

Not only are Forty Thieves nut butters locally made and nutrient-dense, but there’s also an inspiring story behind the brand and its owners, Shyr and Brent Godfrey. Stocked in over 400+ retailers nationwide including New World, PAK’nSAVE and Countdown supermarkets, here’s how the legend of Forty Thieves began.

In 2016 Shyr and Brent started small, selling their Forty Thieves nut butters through local markets and online. The pair would split up and attend up to four markets every weekend: one each on Saturday, one each on Sunday.

Shyr explains “this was a great way to get direct feedback about our products, what was and wasn’t working as well as what customers were looking for that we didn’t already offer.”

Importantly, these markets also allowed Shyr and Brent to develop relationships with their customers and share their brand story and values. “Very quickly we developed a very loyal customer base that would visit us every week to buy our products”, Shyr says.

Forty Thieves then expanded into retail via Farro Fresh. Continuing their hard work ethic, Shyr and Brent conducted many tastings in Farro’s stores around Auckland to try and get their products in as many hands as possible. This perseverance paid off: within a few months of being ranged, they won their first award for ‘Most Delicious Product at Farro Fresh – People’s Choice’.

Continually, Shyr and Brent were able to expand their retail offering while still attending markets, focusing on independent stores and supermarkets, growing their base to around 50 stores.

It was in 2017, one year after launching, that Shyr and Brent began supplying New World stores, personally visiting each New World in Auckland and meeting with the store buyers. Shyr says “we’d share our story and bring a selection of products for them to try. Sometimes it would 3-5 follow-up calls, emails and visits and we’d always offer to help cut the product onto the shelf ourselves.”

For Countdown, this was a different process altogether. It took Shyr and Brent three years before a new Category Manager at the head office was interested in the brand, however, the first covid lockdown in 2020 meant that a review towards possible ranging was postponed until 2021. Shyr and Brent continued to work with the category manager who ended up finding space for a couple of products, despite the vast challenges Countdown and other food retailers were facing at the time.

Forty Thieves Nut Butters on the shelf at a New World supermarket

It’s evident that the current success of Forty Thieves is down to grit and determination, and speaking of the experience, Shyr says “It’s definitely challenging to get into New Zealand Supermarkets, but at the end of the day, it all comes down offering a great product at an affordable price with key features that set it apart from the competition. It’s of course about relationship building too and being able to prove through ongoing sales that the buying teams have made the right choice.”

Speaking of what sets Forty Thieves apart from other nut butters, Shyr explains “we’ve always focused on creating delicious, award-winning spreads made from the healthiest ingredients. For us that means an emphasis on country of origin and skipping cheap fillers like sugar, oils and preservatives. We offer unique combinations like our Gold-winner; Salted Macadamia and brand new SuperFood Butter, as well as favourites like our Peanut Butter Crunchy and Almond Butter Smooth. These come in 500g glass jars which are bigger and more affordable than other premium nut butters too.”

Forty Thieves are also mindful of the environment: “as an environmentally conscious company, we choose to use sustainable packaging over plastic alternatives. This includes glass jars (made from 90% recycled glass) metal lids, FSC approved paper labels (made from 30% post-consumer waste), and FSC approved cardboard cartons. Our online orders are plastic-free”, says Shyr.

The brand also works hard to delight its loyal and new customers, releasing new and unique products each year. The latest is the SuperFood Butter, a unique and healthy blend of hemp, nuts and seeds.

Forty Thieves also offer Peanut Butter Filled Easter Eggs – something no other nut butter brand has done – which were naturally a massive success over the 2020 Easter period.

For now, we’re looking forward to seeing even more of Forty Thieves in our supermarkets nationwide. Watch this space for what this innovative brand is dreaming up next.

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