Matthew Bennett started out to produce good food for his family: premium dried fruit with no sugar, sulphites and colouring. Realising his idea had potential, he left a secure job, sold up in Auckland and moved his young family to Hawke’s Bay, freeing up cash to start Nibblish.
“My vision from day one was to set a new benchmark for nutritious, healthy snacks,” says Matthew. “I wanted to flip the traditional food production model on its head and give back more than I took from the planet and the growers.”
His idea was to outsource the dehydration process to the growers themselves, giving them an additional revenue source and removing overheads from his own business model.
Matthew spent two years visiting hundreds of farms around the world, seeking out the best global growers of fruit that would dry well and retain taste, moisture, nutrition. “I tasted no less than 40 mangoes before selecting our Ghanaian farmers, growing succulent Keitt mangoes.”
All along the way, Matthew has partnered with his farmers and helped them to grow sustainably. “In Ghana, I introduced an on-site creche and courtesy bus to pick up workers’ kids from school. I’ve also helped them develop sustainable solar power and built their entrepreneurship and export capabilities.”
In early 2018, Matthew had zero revenue and market share. He drove 500% revenue growth by the end of 2019 and 100% growth in 2020.
Today, Matthew works with more than over a thousand farmers, drying and packaging 600+ tonnes of the world’s best fruit each year with low fixed costs. By the end of 2021, he expects 50% of sales to come from Australia, having signed an agreement with 800 Woolworths stores across the country. He has also started exporting to Singapore and is developing a product for the US market.