Healthy breakfasts, healthy business growth

Jun 2019

Nutritious, natural and tasty food at breakfast time is the strong foundation of a healthy diet. So says Something To Crow About, the Whangaparaoa based health food company seems to have agreement from a fast growing customer base.

Something To Crow About produces an innovative range of mueslis for the premium breakfast foods market, with strong emphases on the naturalness of ingredients and on the healthiness of the branded product. “We want to give people a burst of energy at the start of the day … a breakfast that really is nutritious, tastes great and fills you up until the afternoon,” says Chris Millar, co-owner and manager of the business with husband Mike Millar.

The Millars think their mueslis – created with the best local and imported nuts, seeds, grains and dried fruits they can find – are indeed “something to crow about” each morning: They have also created a range of roasted seed “toppers” for sprinkling on salads, sandwiches and anything else you might fancy through the rest of the day.

Business foundations

With its products on supermarket shelves across much of New Zealand, Something To Crow About has grown rapidly since Chris and Mike took over in 2014. And they have put the business on its own strong foundation with their enthusiasm for product innovation and their marketing skills – and their commitment to best use of GS1 Standards. Something To Crow About uses GS1 identifiers, with barcoding, on each of its’ 15 products and the cartons in which these are distributed to retailers, and the company is now adept at using ProductFlow. “We’re extremely interested in being able to get new products and changes into supermarkets easily, with no new forms and no false starts,” says Chris.

Products

The Millars and their seven employees (some parttime) produce six muesli flavours in small batch runs, including four gluten free flavours, two that can be identified as “paleo” and two containing probiotic powder for gut health. Most recently released is Something To Crow About’s “cashew, sour cheery and chia, gluten free cereal” – a finalist in the NZ Food Awards 2018.

Production, packaging and distribution is all done from Something To Crow About’s Whangaparaoa plant, 40km north of central Auckland, near the Millar’s beach suburb home and located close to what Mike describes as a great workforce of enthusiastic people who are pleased to have employment without travel hassles.

The Millars do not crow about their growth but it is, nonetheless, impressive. Mike says annual turnover has more than doubled three years in a row, and today they ship out around 20,000 units of product per month. Something To Crow About is now number 2. in the premium breakfast cereals market – and in 2016, the toppers received a “highly commended” in the Artisan category of the New Zealand Food Awards.

Business development

Chris and Mike certainly did know how to go about understanding the customer, building a brand, and innovating with new product ideas and ingredients. “We spend a lot of time on the Internet to see what’s happening in other markets, on gathering feedback from customers and on working with our kitchen staff on new ideas. The food has got to be what we like as well,” Chris says. “Innovation is the key … you just have to do it if you’re going to hold the interest of your customers, present new offerings and maintain your shelf space in supermarkets.” Health attributes are always to the fore, the products having no “filler ingredients” and minimum inclusion of dried fruits that might have sugars or preservatives added. In fact, sourcing high quality ingredients is the company’s biggest challenge and cost pressure, Mike says.

Growth

Healthy growth with no trade off on product quality is the clear objective in this business. In five years’ time, Mike says “we’d like to be there in 95% of New Zealand supermarkets and to be exporting to 5 to 6 other countries, one of those being China perhaps.” Today’s indications are definitely positive, going by the increasingly flow of emailed orders from Australia and by the English visitor who recently insisted on purchasing 10kgs of one muesli flavour that was destined for home via her suitcase!

For more information: www.crowabout.co.nz