Profile: Pic's Peanut Butter

Could you describe your company and its business profile?
Pic’s Peanut Butter is a Nelson-based company manufacturing premium peanut butter and exporting it worldwide. Proprietor Pic Picot first made peanut butter for himself in 2007 and began by selling it at the weekly Nelson markets on Friday afternoons. The business now employs 40 staff and produces 14,000 jars of peanut butter a day. These are mainly sold in the domestic market, although growing international sales see Pic’s sold in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, China, US and the UK.

What are the core values of your company?
Respecting our customers drives us to produce the best quality peanut butter we can and ensures we are completely transparent around our ingredient provenance and manufacturing methods.

For growth, we rely on the trust our customers have in our product and their readiness to tell their friends about us, and for a happy workplace we rely on customers telling our staff how much they appreciate our work.

We have rigorous quality controls but this is ultimately overseen by customer feedback.

How would you describe the profile(s) of your (prospective) customers?
We don’t have the usual customer profiles, but look to find customers who care about what they eat or feed their families and like to understand what goes into their food, and to know it has been prepared the way they would prepare it themselves.

They care about the environment and the world their children or grandchildren are growing up in, and they want to be informed about the provenance of the food they are eating and the companies they buy from.

How do you engage your (prospective) customers?
We rely primarily on face-to-face contact and word-of-mouth recommendations, spread through friends and families. Being based in a provincial centre has allowed us to engage directly with the whole community, which has taken us to heart.

In terms of marketing channels beyond this, we utilise tools including social media, PR and sampling. We also provide product sponsorship to athletes.

Looking at our distribution, we first sold Pic’s at the local Nelson market, then moved to speciality food retailers and finally into all New Zealand supermarkets. We also have a strong online presence to lead our entry into export markets.

What were your challenges in finding sponsorship partners and how did you select them?
We see it as our privilege to be able to assist the Nelson community’s voluntary organisations which work to make Nelson a better place for people to live in and for companies to operate from.

Pic’s spreads financial sponsorship across a range of organisations, looking particularly for those who contribute to the local environment or arts community.

The first we choose was the Brook Waimarama Wildlife Sanctuary, with a jar-return programme that allowed customers to earn a 40c donation for the sanctuary for every empty jar they returned to us. This has been followed by a three-year sponsorship of the Suter Art Gallery and the Nelson Arts Festival.

Latterly we have been looking for projects that benefit a wide cross-section of the community and have become the cornerstone sponsors of mentoring scheme Big Brothers Big Sisters, and of Light Nelson, a biennial free mid-winter light show that in 2016 attracted a record crowd of 55,000.

In recognition of the role Pic’s guide dog plays as the company’s mascot, we fund the training of a guide dog.

Could you describe the value shared and received beyond the dollars?
We feel that anything we can do to make Nelson a better place to live impacts directly and positively on the lives of our staff and the health of the company.

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