Clean Paleo case study

New Zealand health food company CleanPaleo was founded in the battle arena of the great colosseum. Well, almost. When three Kiwi blokes met as extras on the set of hit television series Spartacus, it led to a shared passion of healthy eating and the creation of a paleo food brand.

CleanPaleo is the brainchild of former law student Ryan Kamins, New Zealand cricketer Mitchell McClenaghan and sport scientist, turned star of The Bachelor 2015, Arthur (Art) Green.

Since early 2012, the three have been following paleo diets, sometimes referred to as the ‘caveman’ diet, which reflects what people ate thousands of years ago before processed foods became part of the human diet. The increasingly popular lifestyle cuts out foods such as grains, sugar, bread and pasta.

The first CleanPaleo product was developed when Mitchell teamed up with Ryan to create a wheat, grain and refined sugar free cereal in the hopes of improving both their physical and mental health.

“We created a breakfast blend of nuts, fruit, seeds and coconut. It was delicious and we felt great eating it every day. We didn’t have the ‘crash’ you experience after eating a sugary cereal and found our energy levels were more balanced across the day,” says Ryan.

“We knew we were onto something then. We started selling it in ugly bags with stickers on. The product was great but we didn’t have the hang of branding yet!”

The pair were joined by buddy Art and started working with contractors to produce breakfast blends, before expanding into protein powders, made from free range egg whites and natural flavouring. Soon they developed healthy snacks on the go in the form of South African meat snack biltong and coconut fruit bites.

The trio started off selling CleanPaleo products in specialty health food stores and began to attract dedicated fans, before approaching Countdown about a partnership in early 2015.

“Countdown just felt right to us. They have a huge customer base and while that was important to us, it was vital they understood what we believed in and wanted to achieve as a business. At the time Countdown was rolling out its dedicated health food sections and we could see the commitment they had to providing consumers with healthy, specialised products like the Free From range that caters to those with gluten allergies and intolerances. It was a perfect fit for CleanPaleo,” says Art.

CleanPaleo products were stocked in a handful of Auckland stores as a trial. The trio said they waited nervously for sales results, but they needn’t have worried.

“Initial sales were fantastic and they continue to grow. With support from Countdown we’ve been able to expand into 110 stores nationwide. Our sales have increased fivefold, giving us the revenue boost required to set up our own manufacturing facility and continue developing new products,” says Ryan.

Today CleanPaleo’s East Tamaki facility employs eight production staff, with an additional six office staff helping to grow the business in New Zealand and internationally.

“We have our sights set on Australia now too. We already distribute to India, Singapore and China, but we’re keen to introduce our products to our cousins over the ditch too!”

Ryan says it’s been a long road to get the business to where it is now, but one he’s enjoyed every minute of.

“At the end of the day we created a product we were passionate about, and with the help of Countdown we’ve been able to inspire others to be passionate about what they eat and how they fuel their bodies. It’s a great feeling,” says Ryan.