The story so far: You know what time it is!
The Cookie Time story begins in the kitchen of a one-bedroom flat in Christchurch. It’s 1983, and 21-year-old Michael Mayell is smashing up blocks of chocolate as the smell of baking fills the air. Later he loads up his Mini Clubman van and delivers his first batch of giant cookies to Christchurch dairies. New Zealand had not seen anything like it before! Kiwis fell in love, and the love affair continues today.
Michael’s big Chocolate Chunk cookies were the first of their kind in the New Zealand market. After a six-month stint in America promoting New Zealand skiing destinations, Michael had returned home with $10,000 in his pocket to set up his own business. Inspired by cookie shops in the States, he called a friend for the classic American housewife’s cookie recipe and set about making it his own.
With classic Kiwi ingenuity, chocolate was cut up on a converted bacon slicer to get nice big chunky pieces. Outgrowing his kitchen, Michael rented a bakery at night to do his own production after no-one could be found to do it for him. Mum helped out on morning delivery runs. Iconic glass cookie jars were made to hold the product on dairy counters, and the Cookie Muncher character brought a fun, irreverent spirit to it all. At the end of the year, younger brother Guy joined the company over the summer break – fresh from Massey University studies and the perfect pragmatic business partner to balance Michael’s entrepreneurial passion. The partnership worked so well, Guy never went back.
That balance remains at the heart of Cookie Time Limited’s business today. Still privately owned by the Mayell brothers, it is an iconic New Zealand company and home to some of the country’s most loved food brands. For 12 years, from 1996 through to 2008, it held the Guinness Book of Records for making the world’s biggest cookie. In 2004, an independent panel selected Cookie Time as one of New Zealand’s most loved brands for publication in a coffee table book: ‘New Zealand’s Favourite Brands – an Insight into some of New Zealand’s Most Iconic Brands’. The company also makes Bumper Bar®, Bumper Slice™, Bumper Bliss Balls™ and the world-first meal bar OSM® – providing one third of daily nutritional requirements and patented as the first in a whole new class of nutritionally balanced food and beverage.
The company has won significant business and product awards over the years. But it is not about to rest on its laurels. Smart entrepreneurship and innovation are fundamental driving forces – from new products and new markets to new thinking. The company is committed to quality, operational excellence and ongoing growth; and passionate about consumer satisfaction and brand experiences that inspire, engage and connect – a taste for every occasion, a smile on every face, as its vision says.
Cookie Time is a classic Kiwi success story – with much more to come. Watch this space!