New Zealand supermarket chain owned by Foodstuffs

Company typePrivate subsidiary
Founded1985; 39 years ago
New Zealand
Number of locations
58 stores (2024)
ParentFoodstuffs Edit this at Wikidata

Pak'nSave (stylised as PAK'nSAVE) is a New Zealand discount food supermarket warehouse chain owned by the Foodstuffs cooperative.[1] It is one of the three main supermarket chains in New Zealand, alongside Woolworths New Zealand and New World (the latter is also owned by Foodstuffs).[2] There is a total of 58 Pak'nSave stores throughout the country.[3]

Pak'nSave stores are large and have a no frills environment, often with unlined interiors and concrete floors. From 2015, Pak'nSave was consistently the cheapest supermarket in New Zealand during several years of surveys.[4][5]


Pak'nSave had 20 stores in 1993, which rose to 30 stores in 1998. Its supermarket market share rose from 8% in 1989 to 24% in 1996.[1]


The first Pak'nSave opened on 12 June 1985 in Kaitaia, a town in the Far North District of the North Island.[6] In the beginning, mutton and candles were the stores best sellers, which is attributed to the fact that many homes in the Far North still did not have power in 1985. Pak'nSave originally used a system where customers were given a black marker upon entering the store, which would use this to write the prices onto the goods that they were buying, which they would bring to the checkouts. This is because Pak'nSave at the time did not use barcodes, scanners, or running checkouts, so prices were written onto shelves.[6] Due to the first store's popularity in the Far North, Pak'nSave operated monthly bus trips to the Kaitaia store.[7]

A couple of months after the first store, a second Pak'nSave store was opened in Henderson. Two days after the store opened, two more checkouts had to be opened because of its popularity.[7]


Due to the 1992 recession, Pak'nSave increased its focus on prices.[1]

In 2005, there were 37 stores around New Zealand, including seven in Auckland.[8] In December 2017 Foodstuffs recalled a batch of its Pak'nSave branded beef mince after concerns that it contained soft plastic.[9]

Pak'nSave started rolling out self checkouts around 2009, where customers would scan, pack and pay for their groceries themselves. Customers would only interact with employees to check IDs for sales of alcohol or cigarettes.[10]

The first Pak'nSave store, in Kaitaia, went empty in 2011 because Foodstuffs opened a new store in Kaitaia. In 2018 Foodstuffs gave a 50-year lease for $2 to a Youth Centre. As the Youth Centre could not fulfill their plans, demolition of the building was announced in 2022.[11]

Starting in 2017, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) provided funding toward Foodstuffs to trial electric delivery vans.[12][13] Funding also went to electric car chargers for carparks.[14]

In August 2018 Pak'nSave announced that they would stop offering single-use plastic bags by the start of 2019.[15] After they were discontinued, an 'endangered' bag sold on Trade Me for $52.[16] In February 2020 Pak'nSave started trialling recycled paper bags for bulk food.[17]

In January 2019 Pak'nSave announced that they would start rolling out the option to buy products online.[18]

COVID-19 pandemic

Social distancing marks placed in Pak'nSave

In late February 2020, after the first case of COVID-19 in New Zealand, customers began to panic buy products from supermarkets throughout New Zealand. Due to this, Pak'nSave put restrictions on purchasing, such as a "one in, one out" queue in Albany, which reached a queue of over 200 people. In Pak'nSave Wairau, hand sanitiser was restricted to one per customer.[19] During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Pak'nSave shoppers had to be alone, spend a maximum of 30 minutes in the store, and social distance for two metres.[20] In March, Pak'nSave Gisborne announced that they had a lane dedicated for elderly customers.[21] In April Pak'nSave Royal Oak started trialling a car queue system. Customers would text the supermarket and would receive a notification when it was their turn.[22]

Pak'nSave would turn away customers who were not wearing a face mask. This was a policy of Foodstuffs, meaning that it also affected New World stores.[23] Employees were given gloves and perspex shields were placed on checkouts.[24] Pak'nSave also rolled out "quaran-tunes" on in store radios, which was music related to physical-distancing, voiced by Pak'nSave's mascot, Stickman. Also during the pandemic, Pak'nSave temporarily changed their logo. The tagline was changed from "Our Policy: New Zealand's Lowest Grocery Prices" to "Our Policy: Keep it Distance-y New Zealand".[25]


In October 2020, the Commerce Commission fined Pak'nSave Māngere $78,000 for making false and/or misleading representations of prices.[26]

In May 2021, forty workers at Pak'nSave Lincoln Road, which is the largest supermarket in New Zealand, went on strike. Employees felt that they were not paid enough.[27]

In September 2021, Foodstuffs announced Pak'nSave and New World would stop selling caged eggs by 2027.[28]

In 2022, Foodstuffs announced that 29 of its North Island stores, including New World and Four Square, had started using facial recognition technology as a measure against crime.[29]

During the 2023 Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods the Pak'nSave Wairau Road had to close due to extensive flooding of the store.[30]

In June 2023, Pak'nSave released an AI app named Savey Meal-bot. It creates meal plans and recipes from ingredients including leftovers given by the app's user.[31][32] The app, made with the GPT-3 language model,[32] sparked controversy when it suggested to a user to make chlorine gas and eat ant-poison sandwiches.[33][34]

In June 2023, a Pak'nSave in Tauranga started trialling front-facing body cameras due to a rise in retail crime.[35]

In 2023, Pak'nSave was named New Zealand's most trusted brand in a Reader's Digest survey. Pak'nSave had held the title for twelve years in a row, out of the survey's 24-year history.[36]


Pak'nSave store in New Plymouth

The name probably originates from the cost-saving practice of leaving customers to pack their own groceries, with checkout operators simply placing the products purchased back into a trolley.[citation needed]

Pak'nSave is franchised, where stores are owned and operated by individuals.[37]

Extra products that are not on shelves are stacked above the shelves on the pallets they were delivered in, meaning that the floor space can be used for retail and storage. The stores are supplied daily from their co-operative distributor Foodstuffs.[38]

Most stores have self checkout and some have self scanning facilities where customers scan and bag their own groceries, with several self-checkouts monitored over by a single staff member for assistance and to clear any restricted transactions (e.g. alcohol).[39] Pak'nSave has self-scanning facilities (Shop n' Go) where pre-registered customers can scan items with a hand-held scanner (PS20) while shopping in store.[40]

Pak'nSave Mini

Pak'nSave store in Whanganui

On 13 September 2017, Levin's Write Price supermarket was re-branded as Pak'nSave Mini. Pak'nSave Mini is a small format store that stocks around 2,500 products. In comparison, standard Pak'nSave stores stock approximately 8,000 products.[41][42]


Pak'nSave's main competitors are Woolworths and Foodstuffs' full-service supermarket, New World.[citation needed]

In a 2013 Consumer NZ survey of the most sold supermarket prices, Pak'nSave was found to have the cheapest prices in the country in six of the seven centres surveyed.[43]


Shop'nGo is a service where customers are given scanners, which are used to scan products as they shop around the store, which allows them to track the total price. Customers using Shop'nGo do not need to unload their trolley to pay. They go to a self-checkout, scan a QR on the Shop'nGo screen, and then pay for the products.[44]

Shop'nGo started around 2005 in a few stores.[45] In 2020, 11 stores in the South Island rolled out Shop'nGo.[44]


Pak'nSave is well known for its "cut price" television and print adverts utilising a stick figure, named "Stickman", in black on a yellow background (occasionally, the colour scheme is reversed, including during the 2011 Rugby World Cup and the 2012 Summer Olympics). The television adverts are voiced by comedian Paul Ego.[46] Originally, the voice of Stickman was Ego "mucking around". Another voice had been recorded but it was the "mucking around" voice which was chosen.[47]

In 2013 the Commerce Commission said that Pak'nSave's comparative pricing advertisements may be misleading under certain circumstances.[48]

In 2018 Progressive Enterprises, the owner of Countdown, complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about a Pak'nSave advertisement. It compared prices between Pak'nSave and Countdown. Progressive said that the advertisement was misleading as no store had the same prices on the day listed in the advertisement. Foodstuffs said that there was a mistake in the date, and said that rather than 7 August 2017, the correct date was 28 September 2017.[49] The same year, vegans complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that an advertisement saying "you'll never beat real meat" is offensive to the vegan and vegetarian community. The ASA dismissed the complaint.[50] Again in 2018, a Pak'nSave advertisement encouraging responsible drinking was described by the Human Rights Commission as "discriminatory and harmful". It featured men dressed as women purchasing wine, causing human rights advocates to describe the ad as "transphobic".[51]

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, an Instagram account was created for Stickman. His first post was "Day 1 on Instagram and Day 23 in Lockdown. My bubble is still looking fresh. Just jokes, that's my head. #gotyou".[25] The account has 25,000 followers.[52] In September Pak'nSave took down an advertisement which pronounced the Māori word Wainoni incorrectly.[53]

In 2011, the Stickman adverts were one of the finalists for Best Ad in the annual Fair Go Ad Awards, but lost to the New Zealand Lotteries Commission's "Wilson the Dog" adverts.[54]

In December 2022, under the stage name DJ Save-A-LotT, Stickman hosted an hour-long radio show.[55]

Fuel discounts

Pak'nSave Fuel in Paraparaumu

Pak'nSave offers a program which gives customers a fuel discount for stores with on-site fuel filling stations. To do this, customers scan a "Sticky Club" tag at the checkout and receive a voucher.[56][57] Stores without on-site Pak'nSave fuel filling stations offer vouchers for use at Z Energy service stations.[57][failed verification]

Fuel sites

In December 2002, the first Pak'nSave fuel site was opened at the Pak'nSave in Tamatea. It was originally owned by BP New Zealand and Foodstuffs. More fuel sites were opened in more PAK'nSAVE stores and New World joined for the fuel sites later. In 2018, Z Energy won Mobil's contract to operate the fuel sites and fuel vouchers.[58]

Fundraising and charity

In early 2023 Pak'nSave owner operators from across the North Island donated over $575,000 to help communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.[59]

Pak'nSave stores donated the equivalent of 2.5 million meals in 2019 to those who needed them the most.[60] The first ever Pak'canSAVE appeal saw nearly 80,000 cans donated to local food banks by generous customers, with Pak'nSave donating $200,000.[61]

In November 2015, Pak'nSave stores participated in the annual Movember fundraising effort, raising NZ$106,000 for Movember New Zealand. This was the largest sum ever raised by a New Zealand company for the charity.[62]

Consumer perceptions

A 2021 study by the Commerce Commission found that consumers consider Pak'nSave, compared to other supermarkets, as more inexpensive with poorer quality meats and vegetables.[63]


  1. ^ a b c Conway, Peter (1998). Wage bargaining theory, decentralisation, the Employment Contracts Act, and the supermarket sector : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Economics at Massey University (Thesis). Massey University. hdl:10179/6452.
  2. ^ "Stuff". Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  3. ^ "PAK'nSAVE". Trusted Brands New Zealand. Retrieved 12 November 2023.
  4. ^ "Pak'nSave wins price fight again". Bay of Plenty Times. 22 February 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Pak'nSave Wins the Supermarket Price Wars". Scoop. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b Allen, Christine (5 August 2015). "Couple's big gamble paid off". The Northern Advocate. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Pak'nSave celebrates 30 years". FMCG Business. 9 August 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  8. ^ "Pak'n'Save". Foodstuffs. Archived from the original on 26 November 2005.
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  11. ^ "New chapter for former Kaitaia Pak'nSave site and town centre". NZ Herald. 29 October 2023. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  12. ^ "New World and Pak'nSave electric delivery van trial". 19 January 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  13. ^ Harrowell, Chris (14 August 2017). "Pak 'n Save Papakura deploying new electric delivery van". Stuff. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  14. ^ "Subsidised chargers for Pak'nSave, Warehouse as $4m more doled out to promote electric cars". The New Zealand Herald. 19 February 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  15. ^ "New World, Pak'nSave, Liquorland and others to ban plastic bags from 2019". The New Zealand Herald. 3 August 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  16. ^ "'Endangered' Pak'nSave single-use plastic sells for $52 on Trade Me". NZ Herald. 9 January 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  17. ^ Flaws, Bonnie (25 February 2020). "Pak 'n Save and New World trialling recycled paper bags for bulk foods". Stuff. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  18. ^ "Online shopping comes to Pak'n Save". Stuff. 14 January 2019. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  19. ^ "Coronavirus: Customers restricted at Pak'nSave as people 'panic buy'". NZ Herald. 29 February 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  20. ^ "Pak'n Save reveals social distancing markers for lockdown". NZ Herald. 29 October 2023. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  21. ^ "Coronavirus: Gisborne supermarket dedicates lane to elderly shoppers". NZ Herald. 18 March 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  22. ^ "Covid 19 coronavirus: Pak'nSave, New World supermarkets trial queue in your car system". NZ Herald. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  23. ^ "Covid-19: Pak'nSave and New World will turn people away if they're not wearing a mask". RNZ. 19 August 2021. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  24. ^ O'Dwyer, Ellen (27 March 2020). "Coronavirus: Pak 'n Save worker feels 'in the dark' from Foodstuffs over Covid-19 risk". Stuff. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  25. ^ a b "Pak'nSave's iconic Stickman's hilarious Instagram debut". NZ Herald. 29 October 2023. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  26. ^ "Pak'nSave price discrepancies: Watchdog lambasts supermarket, their advice for shoppers". NZ Herald. 29 October 2020. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  27. ^ Flaws, Bonnie (22 May 2021). "Pak 'n Save workers at country's largest supermarket strike after failed negotiations". Stuff. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  28. ^ "New World, Pak'nSave to phase out caged eggs by 2027". NZ Herald. 30 October 2023. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  29. ^ Mcilraith, Brianna (24 November 2022). "Foodstuffs using facial recognition tech at 29 North Island supermarkets". Stuff. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  30. ^ Stockdill, Robert (31 January 2023). "Flooding closes New Zealand's largest Pak'nSave for days". Inside FMCG. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  31. ^ "Stickman's game-changing solution to get more savey and less wastey". Stuff. 12 July 2023. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  32. ^ a b Brookes, Emily (7 June 2023). "Pak'n'Save's new AI recipe generator is partly helpful, partly bonkers". Stuff. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  33. ^ Taunton, Esther (11 August 2023). "Pak'nSave's AI meal planner suggests recipe for deadly chlorine gas". Stuff. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  34. ^ Zitser, Joshua. "A supermarket experimented with AI to generate meal ideas for leftovers. It suggested drinking bleach and eating ant-poison sandwiches". Business Insider. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  35. ^ Mcilraith, Brianna (2 June 2023). "Pak'nSave trials body cameras amid growing retail crime". Stuff. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  36. ^ "PAKnSAVE the most trusted supermarket for the 12th year in a row". Retail World Magazine. 25 April 2023. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  37. ^ "PAK'nSAVE Mangere charged over alleged price discrepancies". Retrieved 23 February 2024.
  38. ^ "Benefits for you | Pak'nSave". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  39. ^ "Scan, pack and pay". Stuff. 31 January 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  40. ^ "Pak'nSave begins rollout of scan-your-own grocery tech". FutureFive New Zealand. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  41. ^ "Levin". Pak'nSave. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  42. ^ "Pak'nSave trials its first mini supermarket". Stuff. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  43. ^ "Cheapest supermarket in the country revealed". The New Zealand Herald. 5 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  44. ^ a b "SHOP'nGO coming to Rangiora". Otago Daily Times Online News. 29 June 2020. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  45. ^ Mhurchu, Cliona Ni; Blakely, Tony; Wall, Joanne; Rodgers, Anthony; Jiang, Yannan; Wilton, Jenny (June 2007). "Strategies to promote healthier food purchases: a pilot supermarket intervention study". Public Health Nutrition. 10 (6): 608–615. doi:10.1017/S136898000735249X. ISSN 1475-2727. PMID 17381930.
  46. ^ "Comedians freestyle through laughs". The Southland Times (via 29 November 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  47. ^ Marrett, Cass (8 May 2019). "Comedian Paul Ego on a decade on 7 Days and being the Pak 'n Save stickman". Stuff. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  48. ^ "ComCom looks at Pak'nSave ads". Stuff. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  49. ^ "Error in ad leads to advertising stoush between Pak'nSave and Countdown". The New Zealand Herald. 26 June 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  50. ^ "Vegans take aim at Pak'nSave 'you'll never beat actual meat' ad". The New Zealand Herald. 20 July 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  51. ^ Jacobson, Adam (16 March 2018). "Pak 'n Save's responsible drinking video 'discriminatory and harmful', Human Rights Commission says". Stuff. Retrieved 10 November 2023.
  52. ^ Ward, Tara (8 September 2023). "The best NZ TV ad characters of all time". The Spinoff. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
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  54. ^ "Fair Go ad awards – 26 October". Television New Zealand. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  55. ^ "Pak'nSave's stickman turns classic tunes into 'savey' songs". 7 December 2022. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  56. ^ Pan, Ruiyang (29 October 2021). "Computer intelligent assessment model and potential impacts of blockchain technology on grocery store by mathematical statistics". 2021 IEEE International Conference on Data Science and Computer Application (ICDSCA). IEEE. pp. 777–780. doi:10.1109/icdsca53499.2021.9650154. ISBN 978-1-6654-4054-7. S2CID 245446284.
  57. ^ a b "Frequently asked questions". Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  58. ^ "Z ousts Mobil in supermarket petrol deal". Newsroom. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  59. ^ "Pak'nSave Donates Over Half a Million to Help Communities Recover from Cyclone Gabrielle". Foodstuffs. Retrieved 1 March 2023.
  60. ^ "Pak'nSave Corporate Social Responsibility 2020". Pak'nSave. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  61. ^ "Foodstuffs reports on another year of being 'Here for NZ'". Foodstuffs. 26 August 2022. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  62. ^ "Pak 'N Save sets Movember record". Stuff. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  63. ^ "Consumer behaviour and preferences in the New Zealand retail grocery sector" (PDF). Commerce Commission. July 2021.

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