Grocery Commissioner confident Supie's closure won't be end of new competition disrupting supermarket duopoly

The Grocery Commissioner is confident Supie's closure won't be the end of new competition and says he remains focused on levelling the playing field in the multi-billion-dollar industry.   

The online supermarket went into voluntary administration on Monday, reportedly owing creditors an estimated $3 million.   

Around 120 staff will lose their jobs, and not be paid two weeks of wages.  

Founder Sarah Balle, who launched the company in 2021, told Newshub she is devastated about the closure of Supie.  

"I have put absolutely everything into Supie, but I'm so grateful for all Supie's supporters - employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders," she said.  

"Together, we fought so hard to introduce competition in the market so that Kiwis could get a fairer deal for their groceries. I won't be commenting further for now, as there is much work to do over the coming days to assist the administrators."  

On Tuesday, Grocery Commissioner Pierre van Heerden told AM the duopoly is still under pressure. 

"It's always very disappointing when a new competitor, or a new entrant into the market, isn't successful, and it's one of the things that I've been focused on since being appointed."  

On Monday van Heerden released his top three priorities, including accurate pricing, suppliers supporting competition and levelling the playing field for new entrants.  

"It's a $25 billion industry, it's a big industry to get involved in."  

'Are you really going to change the game?' 

While van Heerden has only been in the job since July, AM's Ryan Bridge pressed the commissioner on if he's "really going to change the game".  

Van Heerden believes he will.  

"This is a once in a generation opportunity that we have to do it, and we have to do it right. You can't do it over night, it's something we've got to tackle one step at a time."  

Van Heerden told AM he's working "carefully" with the duopoly, Foodstuffs and Woolworths, as well as other players in the game, to "make sure we get it right".  

He added his work isn't just about cracking down on pricing, it's also about choice, innovation and increasing competition.  

"For me the main thing that's going to drive that is by getting more competition into the market."  

Van Heerden said success can’t be judged by one player in the market, but all of the players have to be looked at. He believes there "are green shoots out there".  

"I'm positive about that and I want to make sure we make a difference for Kiwi consumers."  

Watch van Heerden's full interview above.