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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

New World Supermarket, Wellington, New Zealand

Am I the only person who considers an overseas supermarket a valid tourist destination?

Having eaten myself into oblivion at Hippopotamus, I know I need to walk off some off my dinner. Where better to head than the fluroscent-lit aisles of New World supermarket, an insight into Wellington's grocery habits?

Fruit display

Having spent much of my high school and university life working in supermarkets, I remain fascinated with the layout and merchandising of grocery retailers. I'm quite a fan of the perspex fronted narrow stacking system employed here, which maximises colour and product visibility. It also enables precision stacking which makes everything look so neat and tidy.

Vegetable display

I'm even a fan of the pricing signs which resemble chalk on blackboard for the rustic farmers look.

Potatoes, onions and garlic

It's after 11.00pm by the time I arrive, and I'm struck by how neat the store appears. All products are stacked with precision, and it's a relief not to see those annoying metal shelf dividers that plague many Sydney supermarkets.


Two years ago, I'd marvelled at the electronic shelf pricing at New World in Wellington. I find it strange that as far I'm aware, no supermarket in Australia has rolled this out.

PG Tips

Does New Zealand have an especially strong affinity with England? I find the number of imported English products quite amusing, from PG Tips to mushy peas to suet from the days of yore.

Bachelors mushy peas

Shredded vegetable suet and two brands of shortening

Cereal with feijoa

Energy drinks Demon and Angel (no sugar)

Whittakers chocolate blocks

Cadbury Energy Scroggin chocolate

I had a giggle at the name of these until Wikipedia told me scroggin is the colloquial name for trail mix in Australia and New Zealand. Apparently it's an acronym that stands for Sultana grapes, Chocolate, Raisins, Orange peel, Ginger, Glucose (sugar), Improvisation or imagination (where the chef adds a favorite ingredient) and Nuts. I've never seen a scroggin bar in Australia though - have you?

I noticed a lot of smaller boutique brands on shelves, particularly when it came to jams. There seemed to be much less of a monopoly of major brands across most products. Wellingtonians also love their coffee. There were at least 2 bays of packaged coffee beans, most of them roasted and/or blended locally.

Griffin's Krispie

I'm sure the colder weather encourages a love of sweets and biscuits. I've become a bit of a fan of Griffin's Krispie which are thin toasted coconut biscuits which are super crisp.

Griffin's gingernuts

Griffin's gingernuts are a thicker biscuit to the Aussie Arnott's version. I still prefer the Arnott's style which has more golden syrup to create an absolute jaw-breaker of a biscuit.

Shrewsbury and Belgium Biscuits

Both these are distinctly popular with New Zealanders. From what I've gleaned, Belgium biscuits used to be known as German biscuits until the outbreak of WWI when they were renamed European or Belgium biscuits. The Belgium biscuit consists of two cinnamon and spiced biscuits sandwiched with jam and spread with pink icing. Shrewsbury biscuit are similar but without the cinnamon or spice in the biscuit.


These scones were giant-sized - almost as big as a hamburger bun!

7L olive oil

And for the chef who has everything? Why not get them a 7-litre bottle of olive oil with pouring spout?

Grab Your Fork was hosted by Positively Wellington Tourism for Wellington on a Plate. For more information on Wellington, check out http://www.wellingtonnz.com.

Wellington on a Plate ran from 17-30 August 2009. Next year's festival dates have already been confirmed as 14-29 August 2010.

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New World Supermarket

279 Wakefield Street, Wellington, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (04) 384-8054

Opening hours:
7 days a week, 7am - 12midnight

Go back to Wellington on a Plate Day OneRead the next Wellington on a Plate entry

Read about my Wellington eats in 2007
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
New World supermarket (Aug07)

28 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/02/2009 02:18:00 am


  • At 9/02/2009 7:34 am, Blogger Kylie @ The Rockgarden said…

    I've always wanted to go to NZ - this is just one more awesome reason to head over there!

  • At 9/02/2009 9:01 am, Anonymous Howard said…

    I love overseas supermarkets as well, Japan ones are always good. I laughed when I saw the baconnaise, my jar arrived from usafoods.com.au recently .. heart attack in a jar. Oh and I love Whittakers kiwi fruit flavour.

  • At 9/02/2009 9:23 am, Blogger Joanna said…

    I should point out that New World Chaffers is somewhat of a flagship store and not entirely representative of all other supermarkets in NZ, because it's in the richest part of town and also has one of the largest sites. It has turnover of around a million dollars a day, so it can afford to look nice. Did you make it to Moore Wilson's Fresh at all? Now there's an amazing place to shop!

  • At 9/02/2009 9:36 am, Anonymous Rilsta said…

    Look how neatly everything is stacked up! I love the shot with all the tinned food! LOL at the Baconnaise! I think I would be one of the people who buy it just to see what it tastes like!

  • At 9/02/2009 10:00 am, Blogger RedsGirl said…

    Helen, firstly yes, NZ does have quite a strong affinity with England - growing up there you saw much more UK tv etc than US stuff and a lot of foods/treats I always thought of as typically Kiwi it turns out are typcally British! (Cadbury chocolate buttons is one that springs to mind).

    Admittedly I am a Kiwi, but I LOVE visting the supermarket pretty much as soon as I set foot on Kiwi soil. I do it in other places as well, so I say YES to supermarkets as a tourist detination!

    Your post has made me very homesick, luckily we are back there in November so I can stock up on all my favs including the delicious feijoa cereal and all other things feijoa flavoured.

    As for gingernuts, I am really surprised you think Arnotts are harder biscuits I have without doubt always gone Griffins (apart from the patriotism of course) because they are much harder, where as I find Arnotts 'crispier' if that makes sense. I may just have to do a side-by-side comparison.

    Belgian biscuits are so good, I am lucky in that my Mum keeps me supplied. Shewsbury's don't generally have icing on top, they are normally like a plain vanilla biscuit with jam filling and a hole in the top biscuit.

    Sorry for my ramblings. Great post!!

  • At 9/02/2009 10:12 am, Blogger Brenda said…

    Baconnaise?! How interesting.....
    Yes, I think Australia is a little behind in the labelling technology. I remember your last post about the electronic shelf pricing : )

  • At 9/02/2009 10:52 am, Anonymous penny aka jeroxie said…

    Great! I may visit a supermarket during our trip to NZ.

  • At 9/02/2009 11:02 am, Blogger ATableforTwo said…

    hehee I am like you, overseas supermarket always fascinate me. Like Howard said, I can spend hours in Japanese supermarkets! I always like to marvel their expensive framed in box cantaloupe.

  • At 9/02/2009 11:04 am, Blogger bowb said…

    baconnaise!! "regular"? heh. what were the variations i wonder. did you get some for in-room snacks?

    [hmm. just googled it to find that the only variation is "lite". feh.]

  • At 9/02/2009 11:52 am, Anonymous squishies said…

    New World in Wanaka still has the paper pricing tag thing... and I noticed it's not as well stocked as Wellington's! (Nor does it have such fresh looking fruits and veggies - it was really a sad looking lot when I was there)

  • At 9/02/2009 1:11 pm, Anonymous Min Ai said…

    I grew up in Auckland and oh.. this post took me back! Eating Hubbard's Berry Berry Nice before school was heaven, I loved it! Now knowing they have a feijoa flavour, I'll have to go look it up when I'm next there in October!

    The one thing I love about NZ supermarkets are the variety of freshly baked goods from the supermarket (I am a fan of Foodtown) and the bread aisle - wowsers! How huge is it?!? :)

    I love Griffins Toffee Pops and Shewsbury biccies too.. :P Always need my fix when I'm there!

  • At 9/02/2009 5:24 pm, Blogger Simon Food Favourites said…

    those vegetables look really fresh and stacked so nicely. so much better than my local Coles which is mediocre.

  • At 9/02/2009 5:51 pm, Blogger Leica said…

    I love to go to supermarkets too when I am abroad. I love browsing through the isles and see what that country has to offer.

    I end up buying more stuff from the supermarket than from the department stores.

  • At 9/02/2009 6:08 pm, Blogger pojaya said…

    Me too, love to visit supermarkets overseas.

  • At 9/02/2009 7:12 pm, Blogger Food lover said…

    OMG - have you tried cookie time? It's THE BEST cookie in the world! You can find it at any supermarket or milk bar in NZ; can't believe they haven't brought it to Australia yet...
    BTW - I'm loving the posts about Wellington :)

  • At 9/02/2009 7:22 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    A friend brought me a treat from NZ, which was some gluten free biscuits. Now I know they were Belgium biscuits - thanks for the explanation.

    I've never seen Scroggin for sale, but all my bushwalking friends have their own method for making it. Must be the improvisation part :)

  • At 9/02/2009 7:57 pm, Blogger Ellie said…

    I love browsing supermarket shelves whenever I am in a new country. I can spend hours doing it. Love reading it too! Great post. Love the baconnaise and OMG 7L bottle of olive oil!!

  • At 9/02/2009 9:12 pm, Anonymous divemummy said…

    The coconut Krispies sound right up my alley. The first time I went to NZ in 1992 I was also struck by the abundance of sugary cakes and biscuits - maybe its due to their cold weather.

    Also remember being rather aghast that some Kiwis don't even bother to spread their butter - they would just slap on very thin slices onto their bread.

  • At 9/03/2009 1:19 am, Anonymous Darian said…

    Wow... Helen, that looks like supermarket heaven right there!! :) I can easily spend hours at a good grocery store! Love all your Wellington posts btw! Awesome trip u had.


  • At 9/03/2009 2:30 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Kylie - Nothing like a good supermarket to get you booking an air ticket! :)

    Hi Howard - You ordered baconnaise? Damn, now I'm regretting not bringing home a jar myself! I haven't tried the Whittakers kiwifruit. Hmm... really must have bought more food souvenirs!

    Hi Joanna - Ahh thanks for the clarification. I remember on my last trip I went to the New Worlds at Thorndon and Willis St and noticed the range was smaller but still very neat! Yes I did go to Moore Wilsons Fresh - pics to come soon!

    Hi Rilsta - The neatness of the shop was staggering. I did pause at the Baconnaise but it was such a huge jar! I ended up lugging home heaps of homemade jams and preserves from the local markets instead.

    Hi RedsGirl - I think it's fascinating how NZ seems to have such a close affinity with England. And ahh it's so good to be talking to people who understand the joy of supermarket sightseeing :)

    Gingernut research sounds great. Let me know what you think. Griffins had crunch but I find Arnotts more toffee-like especially in the middle.

    Am loving your details so thank you for the detailed comment. I didn't get a chance to try the Belgian or Shrewsbury biscuit but again, found it intriguing a European biscuit held such historic stature.

    Hi Brenda - lol. I want electronic shelf pricing!

    Hi Penny aka Jeroxie - Haha, definitely make sure you schedule some supermarketing sightseeing! Cheapest place for souvenirs, I say!

    Hi Billy - Yes the fruit section in Japanese supermarkets is always compelling. I love all the obento boxes and the depaato foodhalls! *sigh*

    Hi bowb - Alas no baconnaise. I was totally struggling to digest the food I was eating all weekend. I do prefer my bacon crunchy but hmmm the mind boggles!

    Hi squishies - Oh I presumed that all New World stores had electronic pricing. Seems like I saw the flagship store - no wonder I had so much fun!

    Hi Minh Ai - I did notice that Kiwi supermarkets seem to have huge bakery sections - that's why they do remind me of UK supermarkets. All that sweet baked goodness... yum.

    I didn't pick up any Toffee Pops. Isn't it funny how sentimental we all get about our childhood treats!

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - It's amazing how much visual merchandising impacts on your impressions.

    Hi Leica - I agree. Supermarkets are the best souvenir store in town. And always practical too!

    Hi Pojaya - Yay, hurrah for the supermarket sightseeing club!

    Hi Food Lover - I didn't get a chance to try Cookie Time and now I feel like I really missed out! Glad you're enjoying the posts on Wellington - still a few more to come yet!

    Hi Arwen - You're welcome, although I confess I had to rely on Google for what little I knew.

    I love the idea of personalised Scroggin. I guess it's like homemade muesli - everyone has their personal favourite.

    Hi Ellie - I knew I would find like-minded company here. Always a relief! The 7L bottle of olive oil was so huge - I wonder if anyone would ever buy it - maybe a last-minute wedding present! haha.

    Hi Divemummy - I still have some coconut krispies left for your research purposes :)

    And oh, I like thin slices of butter too. Why scrimp when you can slaaaaather.... lol

  • At 9/03/2009 2:32 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Darian - Ahh another supermarket aficionado. So good to hear! Glad you've been enjoying the posts on Wellington - still a few more to come, and yes I had a fantastic time. So much fun.

  • At 9/03/2009 2:53 pm, Blogger Anna said…

    baconnaise! jon stewart would be proud to see this american export on the shelves in NZ.

  • At 9/04/2009 7:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Excellent post! I love trawling through supermarkets whenever I'm overseas, it's a valid tourist destination indeed (as far as I'm concerned)
    ... My fiance doesn't seem to think so, though... :D
    - kat

  • At 9/05/2009 11:55 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anna - I don't have cable so I had to google your reference to work out what you were talking about. lol.

    Hi Kate - Oh dear, at times like these I prefer to split up so I can indulge in supermarket sightseeing to my heart's content, albeit with a time deadline!

  • At 11/10/2009 6:52 am, Blogger Mediterranean kiwi said…

    ha ha ha
    no you are not the only person who considers going to a supermarket in a foregin country as a valid tourist destiation
    i spent many a happy hour here myself back when i visited my homeland a few years ago!

  • At 11/13/2009 5:37 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Mediterranean kiwi - lol. It's a wonder they don't include the local supermarket in tourist guides. haha. It's been so reassuring to find out I'm not the only one!

  • At 1/26/2010 2:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I loved ginger biscuits!!!!!!
    I can´t live without them!!!
    I just travelled to new Zealand and tried them, and really, really, you´re so lucky to have them...specially arnott's ginger nuts......
    what can I dooooooooooooooooo
    here in Chile we don´t have...do you think I could buy them from my country a few boxes???????


  • At 1/29/2010 1:45 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Lucrecia - Perhaps you could try online and get them sent to you in Chile? I would also try eBay. Good luck and hope you find some gingernuts soon!


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