Otago Daily Times
HelloFresh has big year, big plans
AUCKLAND: Mealkit company HelloFresh experienced revenue growth of 159% last year as its volume of orders swelled amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Germanfounded company, which launched in the market in September 2018, made almost $194 million in the 2020 financial year to December, compared to $74.8 million in the same period a year earlier.
Its fourth quarter sales alone grew 143% yearonyear, reaching over $51.8 million in revenue for the period.
Those numbers are only the revenue growth it experienced in New Zealand.
‘‘It was a bigger year than we expected,’’ local chief executive Tom Rutledge said.
In anticipation of an increase in order volumes in the year, but before the mandated lockdown orders and onset of the coronavirus pandemic, HelloFresh commissioned a new warehouse, three times larger than its previous production facility, which Mr Rutledge said had enabled it to meet the huge volumes of increased demand at short notice.
Even to date, HelloFresh’s order numbers were up ‘‘significantly’’ yearonyear, and the business was optimistic this growth would be sustained.
‘‘With more acquainted with the joy of cooking and the practice of eating more meals at home, we do expect that these volumes will hold,’’ Mr Rutledge said.
‘‘Based on figures we have seen elsewhere and statements we have seen historically, we reckon we are very close to the thirdlargest grocery retailer in the country [behind the two supermarket chains], if not there already.’’
My Food Bag was long believed to hold that title, but given HelloFresh’s large marketing budget — $11.6 million on advertising last year, compared with My Food Bag’s $5 million — the change in reign is possible.
HelloFresh listed on the German stock exchange just over three years ago.
Mr Rutledge said there were ‘‘a broader range of pressures’’ that a business was exposed to as a public company.
‘‘One of the great achievements of HelloFresh is . . . navigating that broader range of expectations but also [focusing] on and [improving] our product, and I’m not sure all companies necessarily do tread that path after an IPO.’’
❛ Based on figures we have seen elsewhere and statements we have seen historically, we reckon we are very close to the thirdlargest grocery retailer in the country, if not there already HelloFresh chief executive Tom Rutledge
HelloFresh says it delivers over half a billion meal kits to households around the world annually, and New Zealand is one of its fastest growing markets.
The New Zealand market had proven to be ‘‘a tremendous success’’ for the multinational operating in 11 markets, Mr Rutledge said.
‘‘Kiwis are foodloving people and savvy shoppers, so we saw a very good opportunity to bring our model and our knowledge and technology that supports that to the market where there was clearly an appetite for it, but not necessarily a whole lot of variety.’’
HelloFresh tripled its New Zealand workforce over the past year and its enormous growth has provided a significant boost to local food producers who have seen demand for their products grow by up to 120% over the past six months.
HelloFresh says it now services 84% of the New Zealand population, up from about 72% a year earlier.
This year the company is focused on expanding its business by increasing the number of meal options, as well as a new range of sides, desserts and lunch options. — The New Zealand Herald