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Auckland food manufacturer says some costs are coming down, but staffing is a battle

Business / news
Auckland food manufacturer says some costs are coming down, but staffing is a battle
Thin slices toast better, says Venerdi owner Tim Grainger.

Food manufacturer Venerdi is slicing some of its loaves thinner as a result of rising costs.

Tim Grainger, largest shareholder in the Auckland-based paleo and gluten free firm, said the company had decided against changing any of its recipes as a response to rising ingredient prices. 

Instead, it had decided to increase prices on two of its products, and slice its “dense, nutritious” bread a bit thinner.

Manufacturers such as Venerdi have been hit with swelling costs, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine destabilised the grain trade and supply chains were disrupted by the pandemic.

Grainger said its paleo bread would now have a few extra slices in each pack and “it toasts up even better now”.

Prices for its paleo super seeded loaf and almond and linseed loaves had risen from $9.99 to $10.29.

Eggs have been one of the more costly ingredient price-rises for Venerdi, Grainger said.

The price the food company paid for a kilogram of eggs had increased from about $19.50 to between $40 to $50 a kilo currently.

A report by economic consultant Infometrics found egg prices had increased by 16% year-on-year in November 2022.

Infometrics said a change in New Zealand’s egg production methods to remove caged egg production had seen available egg numbers fall and prices rise in response to sustained demand for eggs – exacerbated by already-high inflationary pressures on food prices.

Grainger said Venerdi’s new egg pricing came into effect in May and was the largest cost increase the business was facing.

But overall, Grainger said prices “were flattening”. He said Venerdi had seen three pricing decreases and six increases for products or services for manufacture.

Freight had been one of the costs where there had been a “slight reduction” in costs, while rice and pumpkin seeds prices had risen.

“This is the kind of first time we started to see some decreases, but there are still other things moving up ... There is pressure when prices are going up, you're always trying to find those efficiencies to kind of offset [cost increases]. The most obvious is when ingredients go up [in price], because you can't offset that. You can try and get rid of more speed out of the machines, try and reduce waste in the factory ... but it's really nice to see that freight isn't continuing to add into it."

Grainger said the other big challenge for the business is attendance at work. He said the manufacturer had noticed larger "swings" of staff availability since an additional five days of sick leave was introduced.

"That drives a lot of chaos in manufacturing."

He said the firm hired additional staff to try and cover for increased sick days. But ensuring there were enough staff so the business was covering shifts and stability for planning "was the hardest thing to achieve".

BNZ's June rural wrap said there were many potential reasons for the strength in domestic retail food price increases over the past year or so, with many likely operating together.

These included things like the poor weather, labour shortages and supply challenges, rising wages, higher costs through the supply chain including rising NZ international freight costs, and potential changes in margins within the supply chain.

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People on diets are always trying to eat something that looks, tastes and feels like the food they are not allowed to eat. Artificial sugars, keto bread, vegetable based meats. There is a market for these products.

Eschewing bread is enormously difficult for many. Even I bought a keto friendly loaf once but found it to be very tasteless, almost uneatable. Mimicking the flavour and texture is extremely difficult to do without expensive ingredients.

The trick is to train your body to burn fat directly and to convert protein to sugar. This can be done on a diet of eggs, cheese, butter, cream, red meats and sardines. However, any food that reduces sugars of all types, yes bread is basically sugar, should be beneficial. Diabetes, heart disease, even cancer and dementia are largely preventable if you can control your food intake and keep your body in tune.

Someone should make pemmican in NZ. I would buy that even if it did have cranberries.




The keto bread is not suitable as a bread replacement in a sandwich as its very dense, but its great for having toasted with an avocado or tomato and cheese topping, or using it as the base for a bacon/salmon and eggs breakfast.  Its not designed to mimic the taste of bread, its designed to replace bread's function, ie that of a base on which you can put toppings.  It makes for a fast snack that you don't have to cook.  Also its very filling, if eating it as toast one or two slices is like an entire meal, whereas I'm normally still hungry after a couple of slices of normal bread.


Interesting, I would like to eat cod liver paste, fish paste or liver pate occasionally so it could be an option. Sardines or anchovies are nicer on some sort of base too.

The keto bread I bought wasn't a loaf but burger buns now I recall correctly which I imagine was meant as a bread substitute..which didn't really work.


I cut out bread altogether. in fact I cut out breakfast and moved it to lunch, meusli from oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, some dried fruit and walnuts with unsweetened yoghurt.  Weight dropped 6 kg in 9 months. Cholesterol drop allowed me to come off statins and my BP went from 130/80 to 120/70 average. Sleep improved as well. My eating window is now 12:00 mid day to about 7:00 pm. Wasn't all that hard really.


Yes, I cut out bread altogether as well, although for many people this is going too far. Your seven hour eating window would be the key to your success. Some studies are showing this to be very beneficial as it mitigates the bad effects of carbohydrates.


"Staffing a problem?".... But but we have immigrants wanting work!?

One thinks the immigrants are looking at NZ as a stepping stone to Aussie.



Aussie is arguably easier for migrants to move to than NZ at the moment.


Not to get permanent residency.  Via easy!