Sweet Sting is a chilli infused honey inspired by the beautiful buzz of sweet and heat. Founded in Auckland by Chris and Dan in early 2021, Sweet Sting takes the best of New Zealand honey from Nelson and Coromandel and infuses it with fresh Northland chillies to create a sauce with a flavour profile that ranges between sweet, savoury and spicy.
As a small startup with no existing food business network, the challenge for Sweet Stings was knowing the right connections who could help them grow their customer base. An initial sample mail-out proved costly, generated very few leads and took up precious time for little return. When the team from Upstock got in touch there was initially some apprehension – managing multiple wholesale orders was the least of their concerns at the time. This all changed however as customer invites and sample requests immediately started rolling in.
“Upstock gives us the exposure we need, which is so hard to get. We get a steady flow of leads from so many great buyers. And Upstock makes the whole sales and fulfilment process very smooth and seamless.”
More from our chat with Sweet Sting
What are your thoughts on sustainability and reduced waste across the food supply chain?
Our food service offering is based around larger serve bulk sizes which cut down on excess packaging and wastage, while it’s a very small part of our overall business, we’d love to see it grow. We’re impressed with Upstock’s commitment to helping make more sustainable, local products more widely available.
We’re passionate about local production and supporting New Zealand sourced products and especially the idea of taking honey to the next level. One benefit of using local is the lower carbon footprint and being shielded from supply chain issues associated with imported ingredients.
How would you describe your customers?
First of all, our customers are awesome! Having not worked in the food industry before, we’ve been so impressed with the amount of passion and care involved in hospitality.
Our customer base is a mix of smaller boutique grocery stores, delis and butchers looking for new sauces and condiments, and food service operators like cafes, pizza joints and bars who use Sweet Sting as an ingredient in menu items.
What do you love most about your business?
Being in control of our own destiny, for better or for worse! The sense of pride and satisfaction when chefs use our product in innovative ways, or when our product makes it onto the shelves of a great retailer. Our vision of taking NZ honey to the next level is one of things that gets us out of bed in the morning.
Are you planning on adding any new services or offerings?
Yes, we’re currently developing a new range of sauces and condiments with Sweet Sting as a base. These will be healthy, natural versions of classic Kiwi table sauces like Mustard and BBQ with honey in place of any refined sugar. We’re also looking to expand our food service offering in 1 litre and 2.8 kg bulk sizes.