Cash-free Wellington supermarket aims to give vulnerable customers dignity

Murray Edridge from Wellington City Mission and Chris Quin from Foodstuffs in the new supermarket.
Murray Edridge from Wellington City Mission and Chris Quin from Foodstuffs in the new supermarket. Photo credit: Supplied

A new supermarket in Wellington doesn't operate on cash or credit - but instead aims to give the city's most vulnerable the dignity of choice.

The new Social Supermarket allows people experiencing food insecurity to pick their own items from a wide selection - rather than being issued a standard food parcel.

It's the product of a collaboration between Wellington City Mission and New World, with Missioner Murray Edridge saying the new supermarket provides dignity.

"We can only imagine how hard it must be for someone to ask for food support. The concept of the Social Supermarket is about providing dignity, self-respect and encouragement to those who are vulnerable in our local community."

The supermarket will have social workers on site ready to assist and customers will be offered budgeting support. 

Foodstuffs, which operates New World, says the partnership is "a natural extension" of the relationship between itself and the Mission.

North Island chief executive Chris Quin says the experience has been "extremely rewarding".

"The team in Wellington have loved setting up the store and working alongside the Mission team to establish a permanent facility as part of being here for New Zealand.

"We know that many in our communities are facing increasing hardship and uncertainty, and across New Zealand food insecurity continues to rise."

The supermarket will be open between 9:30am and 3:30pm Monday to Friday by appointment.

If you need food support or would like to refer someone to The Mission's Social Supermarket, please contact The Mission's main reception on 04 245 0900 or email:

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