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The Story of Pams

The Pams range of products is the exclusive brand of the Foodstuffs group of companies, New Zealand's largest food retailers. The Pams product range of around 1,000 lines includes most of the volume selling grocery product groups in supermarkets.

The brand has a long history. It was launched in 1937 to enable the Four Square organisation to compete on equal terms with the dominant chain store groups of the day. The chain stores enjoyed excellent trading relationships with manufacturers and were able to buy on terms that members of the fledgling Four Square group were unable to match.

By introducing their own brand, Pams, the Four Square organisation was able to consolidate their individual members' orders and negotiate bulk buys for key product groups, and pass these savings on to consumers in the form of competitive retail prices. Unfortunately the origin of the name Pams is unrecorded, though legend has it that it is an acronym of the names of two early Foodstuffs senior executives. The first products were baking powder and custard powder, which no doubt reflects the importance of home baking in those early years.

As the Foodstuffs group grew in size its negotiating power increased until it was able to buy on the same terms as its competitors. This equalisation of purchasing power occurred in the early 1950s, at about the same time that mass advertising began to drive consumer interest and trust in branded goods. The increasing consumer interest in national brands, coupled with the strong weekly promotional programmes in store, reduced the need for retailer-owned brands. The introduction of import controls and the rise in monopoly manufacturing/supply arrangements also impacted on the ability of retailers to negotiate competitive supply arrangements for their own brands. Through the 60s and 70s these constraints saw the Pams range shrink to a small number of basic commodity food products.

The relaxation of import controls in the 1980s, along with the growth in retailer power as grocery stores became fewer and larger, saw a renaissance in retailer-owned brands. They now play an important role in the marketing plans of all retail grocery groups, as they allow retailers to reward their customers with exceptional value, while building strong partnerships with their manufacturer suppliers.

Over the last few years the Pams range has expanded to include a number of innovative product lines, sourced both locally and internationally. As well a comprehensive fresh food offering under Pams reflects the changing market dynamics.

The Pams brand has come a long way since 1937, and we are proud and delighted that it is now the largest selling brand in the New Zealand grocery market.


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