Oi products are made entirely out of certified organic cotton. They were launched eight weeks ago online, as well as in major Pak’n Save, New World and Four Squares across the country.
The products were created to remedy both the fact that women were using “unnatural materials” in a highly sensitive area, as well as the environmental waste that comes with women’s sanitary products.
On average, women use around 240 tampons a year. With 1.4 million women in New Zealand, the potential wastage could stretch further than the length of the country when laid flat.
Co-founder Helen Robinson says the uptake of Oi products from consumers has been great.
"Feedback from supermarkets is that this is the fastest selling organics product ever introduced - a reflection of the pleasant surprise women find when they can buy a premium product without the premium price,” Robinson says.
Since then, Oi has teamed up with retailer Annah Stretton’s RAW (Reclaim Another Woman) initiative, which helps women offenders in prison and on probations make a better life for themselves through supported living.
Oi customers can buy a box, and gift an Oi box of tampons or pads to a woman in need.
Stretton says Oi customers are already making enlightened decisions about the environment and their body, so it’s a natural step for them to want to reach out to other women.
Sales growth isn’t limited to just sanitary products, either: organics in New Zealand are hot business.
In 2012, New Zealand’s organic sector reached between $340 million and $360 million in value.
This was a 25 percent increase from 2009, a rapid increase in the midst of an economic recession.
Organic ice cream company Oob’s profits have surged by nearly 50 percent in the past year.
The company says it saw a huge 64 percent rise in sales in the 12 months to March, with ice cream sales 48 percent higher than 2014.
Its products are stocked in New Zealand supermarkets and in 2014, it expanded to 750 Coles supermarkets across Australia. This follows expansion into 860 Woolworths Australian supermarkets in 2012.
Meanwhile, organic food company Ceres has experienced 100 percent growth over the past five years. Its products are stocked in various Countdown, New World and Pak'n Save supermarkets.
That level of growth is unexpected for the company, as in the 30 years since it’s been established, it’s average growth was 20 percent year-on-year.
“While the general food sector has crawled along reporting one to two percent annual growth, the demand for organic food has catapulted since about 2009 as consumers become more aware of what’s in their food, and what they don’t want in their food,” Ceres managing director Noel Josephson told NZBusiness.
What we’re seeing in New Zealand with the organics market is indicative of a global trend.”
Huckleberry Farms chief operating officer Richard Lees echoed this in issue 740 of NZRetail Magazine, saying organic products are now getting more recognition from consumers.
Huckleberry Mount Eden
“It’s becoming less fringe and people are very much more aware of the effects of pesticides and herbicides and more interested in their wellbeing,” Lees said.
Huckleberry Farms has since rebranded and opened four new stores in Auckland neighbourhoods offering organic food to the masses.
Brendan Hoare of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) told Stuff that organic food was now the fastest growing multi-food sector in the country.
He said sales of organic food and drink worldwide were expected to have a 20 percent rise globally.
Organic food sales in the United States from 2000 to 2013 (in million U.S. dollars)