Original Foods Baking Co case study

Icing on the top for Countdown

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade…or so the old adage goes. When the 2010 Canterbury earthquakes devastated Christchurch, Jane Mayell and Mike Sproule of Original Foods Baking Co. made cake. A special red velvet cake known as ‘A Cake for Canterbury’, with funds from each cake sold donated to enhance the parks and recreation areas of Christchurch. Today the company’s cake with a conscience is a red velvet Celebration Cake with proceeds directed to the Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal.

It’s a sweet story of community support and just the kind of people Mike and Jane are as the dynamic duo behind the New Zealand owned and operated, family business.

The feeling is mutual with Kiwis loving the company’s wide range of delicious baked goods from decadent cakes and donuts, to tempting muffins and slices.


Rising to great heights

As a wholesale bakery, Original Foods Baking Co. has been perfecting the art of sweet treats for more than 25 years. The company’s delicious products can be found in supermarkets, cafes and restaurants across New Zealand and abroad.

From humble beginnings as a three staff operation, the bakery has grown into a multi-million-dollar turnover business with a team of more than 80.

Original Foods Baking Co’s National Sales Manager Will Jones manages the company’s vendor relationships and says strong business partnerships have played a critical part in the bakery’s rise to success. In the past five years Will has worked with Original Foods Baking Co.’s biggest vendor, Countdown. It’s a relationship between the two businesses that began more than ten years ago.

In partnership with Countdown’s bakery department, Original Foods Baking Co. supports the nationwide supermarket chain by baking products that cannot be easily produced by Countdown’s in-house teams.

Will says a great example of this is the donuts supplied by Original Foods Baking Co. “Our delicious donuts come in a wide range of flavours and styles and many have specialist finishes. It takes time to bake and perfect them so we know our donuts look their best when displayed on Countdown’s bakery aisles. It’s a strong person who can buy them and stop at just one!”


The sweet taste of success

Owners Mike Sproule and Jane Mayell say that the relationship with Countdown is a win-win for both parties.

“We can see that Countdown customers love our baked treats as we are selling good numbers. We’ve also had some great promotional support for our products which is an added benefit,” says Mike.

“The donuts were locked down at a sharp price point through Countdown’s Lockdown programme and from there have gone crazy– it’s an outstanding example of us working together with Countdown to get a great result for the customer.”

Jane says the Lockdown programme is successful for suppliers because it gives a consistent price range and allows the opportunity to plan for the future in terms of forecasting and production.

“At the end of the day we are both businesses and business 101 for us is to continue to bake our delicious baked treats as long as their demand for them.  We certainly don’t see that slowing down anytime soon!”


The secret ingredient.

Throughout the years, Countdown has grown its understanding of Original Foods Baking Co.’s capabilities and they in turn have pushed the boundaries of sweet treats they can create on Countdown’s behalf.

As the magician who creates all of Original Foods Baking Co’s recipes Jane says there is room for creativity and innovation in this supermarket-small business supplier relationship.

“Sometimes Countdown approaches us with a specific idea for an interesting product. We also have our own product development teams working in the background so if we see an opportunity or trend that we think is worth a go, we develop the recipes and present them to Countdown. It’s a combined effort.”

“Because we’ve worked together for a long time the team at Countdown know that our products are a labour of love with a huge amount of time, effort and skill combined with the fresh ingredients that create our freshly baked treats.

“Countdown is an important part of our business and we have a mutually open and respectful relationship. That’s the secret ingredient that makes it all work.”