MeatMail managing director David Booth doing a delivery round in Dunedin. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
''Like bringing back the milkman.''
That is how David Booth describes the expansion of
subscriber-based home delivery service MeatMail.
The Dunedin-based company has moved from solely providing
meat for Dunedin students to catering for a wider range of
households' fresh produce requirements both in the city and
other parts of New Zealand.
Mr Booth (25) and Harrison Uffindell (24) were students at
the University of Otago when they launched MeatMail in June
last year, having identified a market for quality meat at an
affordable price in North Dunedin.
They initially saw it as an opportunity to become involved in
a small business and to make some pocket-money.
But it had evolved and their plans had got more ambitious,
and there was now the potential to eventually have a
nationwide franchise business.
MeatMail was now aiming to provide fresh solutions for busy
households and had added fruit, vegetables, milk and cream to
While the short-term focus had been the student market - and
they were looking forward to launching back into that market
in February as the support from students had been
''incredible'' - there was increasing demand for such a
service nationwide among time-poor families, Mr Booth said.
MeatMail now also operates in Christchurch and Wellington and
''next on the hit list'' was New Plymouth, a city with a
demographic similar to Dunedin's, he said.
A trial was launched in Andersons Bay two months ago and the
Dunedin market had now been ''opened up''. Students were
employed over the summer as salespeople.
This weekend, MeatMail will make 130-odd deliveries and Mr
Booth, who is managing director, now has three fulltime staff
working with him from an office in Clyde St.
Mr Uffindell, now working at an Auckland law firm, was still
involved with the business and did a lot of administration
work from home.
The company has developed and implemented technology-driven
systems to ensure the sign-up and ordering process was simple
and flexible for clients.
Deliveries were made at the same time every week by
refrigerated truck and delivered in chiller bags.
While the business model had done very well around the world,
that had not previously occurred in New Zealand, Mr Booth
Home delivery was a growing trend around the world and
consumers were interested in shortening the distance between
''the farm gate and their front door''.
Increasing demand from consumers wanting to see a traceable
supply chain was the reason the likes of farmers markets were
''going through the roof''.
''Families in particular are signing up for the service,
which provides those high-quality weekly essentials and saves
''Everyone used to know the local milkman - now technology
has got to a point where we can bring him back,'' he said.
While wanting to provide high-quality products at competitive
prices, which were sourced in New Zealand, an advantage was
their ability to make strong, ongoing relationships with
Their products were all sourced from New Zealand suppliers,
including Silver Fern Farms, with a focus on keeping supply
as locally sourced as possible. The company saw its capacity
to work directly with farmers further evolving with
MeatMail convert Helen Hunt was thrilled with the service,
saying it had made her life ''so much easier''.
''I can already see the difference in my food and petrol
bill, and having our staples looked after makes it so much
easier to budget for our weekly food shop,'' she said.
When it came to adding to the available range, Mr Booth said
product requests were being received all the time and a tally
was kept, so the more votes a product received, the more
likely it was they could fast-track it.
Servicing the South Island was MeatMail's immediate ambition
and it ''really does have to be Dunedin first'', Mr Booth
The company intended to keep the support team in Dunedin at
this stage. The city was the right place to base such a
business, as it had the right-size population and attitude.
Mr Booth was also grateful for the support of the
university's School of Business.
MeatMail was second in last year's Audacious student business
plan competition and the $6000 prize was put immediately into
website development. Mr Booth was pleased to see the
continued growth of that competition.