CIE » Newsroom » Learning from leading New Zealand’s fastest growing food business

NEWSROOM

Learning from leading New Zealand’s fastest growing food business

social media

2 February 2021

Business School alumnus William Lockie has turned his passion for food into a fruitful career as General Manager of Woop, New Zealand’s fastest growing food business. Under his leadership, Woop has had massive revenue growth, been consistently named in Deloitte’s Fast 50 and have evolved their operations to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Woop takes the hassle out of cooking by preparing and delivering fresh ingredients to people’s homes, allowing them to create quick, easy, tasty meals every night. There are a number of meal kit businesses operating in the New Zealand market. Woop’s point of difference is its sophistication. A high quality product and customer centricity have been at the heart of Woop from day one. William, who was Head of Marketing prior to his current role, says “We’ve carved out a really nice niche in the market where we service people who want a premium offering and premium service, and everything that goes with it. It’s not just about feeding people beautiful meals. It’s about making sure that we look after them and treat them in a way that’s far superior to anyone else.”

Woop is also committed to being industry-leading when it comes to sustainability. “It’s something that we’re very passionate about both as people and as a business. It’s about asking ourselves ‘Where are the areas where we can have the biggest impact?’ and ‘What are all the things we can do to go with that?,’” says William.

One of the challenges that comes with the convenience of a meal kit is the amount of packaging required to transport and store the food so that it stays fresh and safe to eat. In response to this, Woop launched their Back to Base packaging programme, where they take responsibility for 100% of the packaging they deliver to peoples’ doors. They ensure that their packaging is recycled properly in New Zealand and that the recycled material is used to create other products, rather than ending up in landfill.

Customers simply clean and dry their packaging during the week, and place it in the Woop box to be collected when their next box is delivered. Woop then sorts the packaging and sends it to their recycling partners who process it into recycled material. This material is then used by a range of Kiwi companies as an alternative to new or imported plastic to make products such as farming fence posts. “We pretty much said ‘If we can’t take it back, we shouldn’t give it out.’ We want to make sure any packaging we use will have the proper end of life or recyclability,” says William.

Woop’s commitment to reducing their environmental impact also involves initiatives like collecting and re-using their gel cool packs, using kerb-side recyclable chilled boxes made from recycled cardboard, completely offsetting the carbon footprint of deliveries by planting lots of trees, using exact portions in their kits to cut down on food waste, and only making their kits to order.

The massive evolution that Woop has had in recent years matches William’s own career evolution. He has worked with Woop’s owner since his time at University, where he learnt skills and made networks that have helped his career considerably. William studied a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Auckland and went on to complete a Graduate Diploma in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He was first inspired to get involved with innovation and entrepreneurship when he discovered the University’s Velocity programme (then, Spark.) He joined the student committee and became CEO in 2013. “The value I got out of leading the team was super powerful. It put me on this path to understanding that I really enjoy working with people. I saw the change that can come when you motivate, inspire, lead, develop, and grow an awesome team and the results that you can get by doing that,” says William.

A highlight of the Velocity programme for William was the expansive network and connections he built both within the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the wider community. He says, “The programme really opens up your network to other students across the University as well as the business community. In the beginning, I was very much just another student thinking ‘Oh gosh, we have to do this networking thing. What even is that?’ But by the time you leave university, you realise that the network you’ve built is quite phenomenal. The doors it opens, the interesting people you get to meet, and connections you create are so incredibly valuable.”

An example of how building strong relationships and putting your hand up can open doors to exciting opportunities is William’s own introduction to Woop. In his final year of study, he interned at Woop founder Thomas Dietz’s previous venture, TOMeTTe. They stayed in touch afterwards while he participated in a graduate programme at Fonterra, the end of which happened to coincide with the beginning of Woop. “I saw that Thomas was looking for a marketing manager, so I said ‘When you’re growing your marketing team, let me know because I’d be really keen to join.’ Within two weeks, I had left Fonterra and started with Woop, taking on the role of marketing manager despite having no idea what a marketing manager did,” says William.

“Long story short, I got to my role purely by putting my hand up, putting myself out there, and constantly wanting and striving to do more. In a kind of selfish way because I really wanted the opportunities to learn and the excitement that came with it. But from a success perspective as well, I’m really motivated in growing a business. As you start seeing the results of you and your team’s hard work, it just fuels you to want to do more. I’ve been able to grow and grow and grow alongside the business, and take on more responsibilities over time. When more things needed to be done, I stuck my hand up to do them.”

William advises students to get involved with as many things as possible at University and be open to new experiences and opportunities. He says, “You only get what you put in. Pursue your interests. They will grow, and develop, and make you an even more interesting person. Grab every opportunity, because University goes by so quickly.”

William is now preparing to start a new chapter of his life in London. He hopes to once again work in a marketing leadership role with like-minded people on a high growth business that he is passionate about. He says, “I’m very grateful for all the experiences that I got in New Zealand. I’m excited to see what it’s like to live and work overseas and have an adventure before coming home.”

Nicholas Bing
Nicholas Bing

social media

2 February 2021

Business School alumnus William Lockie has turned his passion for food into a fruitful career as General Manager of Woop, New Zealand’s fastest growing food business. Under his leadership, Woop has had massive revenue growth, been consistently named in Deloitte’s Fast 50 and have evolved their operations to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Woop takes the hassle out of cooking by preparing and delivering fresh ingredients to people’s homes, allowing them to create quick, easy, tasty meals every night. There are a number of meal kit businesses operating in the New Zealand market. Woop’s point of difference is its sophistication. A high quality product and customer centricity have been at the heart of Woop from day one. William, who was Head of Marketing prior to his current role, says “We’ve carved out a really nice niche in the market where we service people who want a premium offering and premium service, and everything that goes with it. It’s not just about feeding people beautiful meals. It’s about making sure that we look after them and treat them in a way that’s far superior to anyone else.”

Woop is also committed to being industry-leading when it comes to sustainability. “It’s something that we’re very passionate about both as people and as a business. It’s about asking ourselves ‘Where are the areas where we can have the biggest impact?’ and ‘What are all the things we can do to go with that?,’” says William.

One of the challenges that comes with the convenience of a meal kit is the amount of packaging required to transport and store the food so that it stays fresh and safe to eat. In response to this, Woop launched their Back to Base packaging programme, where they take responsibility for 100% of the packaging they deliver to peoples’ doors. They ensure that their packaging is recycled properly in New Zealand and that the recycled material is used to create other products, rather than ending up in landfill.

Customers simply clean and dry their packaging during the week, and place it in the Woop box to be collected when their next box is delivered. Woop then sorts the packaging and sends it to their recycling partners who process it into recycled material. This material is then used by a range of Kiwi companies as an alternative to new or imported plastic to make products such as farming fence posts. “We pretty much said ‘If we can’t take it back, we shouldn’t give it out.’ We want to make sure any packaging we use will have the proper end of life or recyclability,” says William.

Woop’s commitment to reducing their environmental impact also involves initiatives like collecting and re-using their gel cool packs, using kerb-side recyclable chilled boxes made from recycled cardboard, completely offsetting the carbon footprint of deliveries by planting lots of trees, using exact portions in their kits to cut down on food waste, and only making their kits to order.

The massive evolution that Woop has had in recent years matches William’s own career evolution. He has worked with Woop’s owner since his time at University, where he learnt skills and made networks that have helped his career considerably. William studied a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Auckland and went on to complete a Graduate Diploma in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He was first inspired to get involved with innovation and entrepreneurship when he discovered the University’s Velocity programme (then, Spark.) He joined the student committee and became CEO in 2013. “The value I got out of leading the team was super powerful. It put me on this path to understanding that I really enjoy working with people. I saw the change that can come when you motivate, inspire, lead, develop, and grow an awesome team and the results that you can get by doing that,” says William.

A highlight of the Velocity programme for William was the expansive network and connections he built both within the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the wider community. He says, “The programme really opens up your network to other students across the University as well as the business community. In the beginning, I was very much just another student thinking ‘Oh gosh, we have to do this networking thing. What even is that?’ But by the time you leave university, you realise that the network you’ve built is quite phenomenal. The doors it opens, the interesting people you get to meet, and connections you create are so incredibly valuable.”

An example of how building strong relationships and putting your hand up can open doors to exciting opportunities is William’s own introduction to Woop. In his final year of study, he interned at Woop founder Thomas Dietz’s previous venture, TOMeTTe. They stayed in touch afterwards while he participated in a graduate programme at Fonterra, the end of which happened to coincide with the beginning of Woop. “I saw that Thomas was looking for a marketing manager, so I said ‘When you’re growing your marketing team, let me know because I’d be really keen to join.’ Within two weeks, I had left Fonterra and started with Woop, taking on the role of marketing manager despite having no idea what a marketing manager did,” says William.

“Long story short, I got to my role purely by putting my hand up, putting myself out there, and constantly wanting and striving to do more. In a kind of selfish way because I really wanted the opportunities to learn and the excitement that came with it. But from a success perspective as well, I’m really motivated in growing a business. As you start seeing the results of you and your team’s hard work, it just fuels you to want to do more. I’ve been able to grow and grow and grow alongside the business, and take on more responsibilities over time. When more things needed to be done, I stuck my hand up to do them.”

William advises students to get involved with as many things as possible at University and be open to new experiences and opportunities. He says, “You only get what you put in. Pursue your interests. They will grow, and develop, and make you an even more interesting person. Grab every opportunity, because University goes by so quickly.”

William is now preparing to start a new chapter of his life in London. He hopes to once again work in a marketing leadership role with like-minded people on a high growth business that he is passionate about. He says, “I’m very grateful for all the experiences that I got in New Zealand. I’m excited to see what it’s like to live and work overseas and have an adventure before coming home.”


EMAIL
CIE@AUCKLAND.AC.NZ

PHONE
09 923 4526

NEWSLETTER SIGN UP

POSTAL ADDRESS
THE UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND BUSINESS SCHOOL
PRIVATE BAG 92019, AUCKLAND

 

 

 

WUNAPRUU21