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Cookie Time turns 25

Monday 11 February 2008

Cookie Time turns 25

It has been 25 years since Michael Mayell worked from his one bedroom in Christchurch smashing blocks of chocolate up for a new business idea he had in the oven.

Now, a quarter of a century later, drive through any town in New Zealand and you'll see the classic kiwi image of the Cookie Muncher staring back at you from just about every corner dairy.

Mayell's company Cookie Time is now an iconic New Zealand brand celebrating its 25 years in business this month.

In starting Cookie Time Mayell created a new NZ food category - individually wrapped cookies - and as the company celebrates business owners Michael and Guy Mayell can look back on many years of successful operation and a world record for the biggest cookie ever made.

Michael Mayell says one of the secrets to their success has been failure.

"It was the willingness to try new things - lots of new things - and when they didn't work - as is so often the case, to learn from them," he says.

"A major philosophy at Cookie Time is the idea that there is always an opportunity in a crisis."

He says an example is Cookie Time's Christmas Cookies which saw the company turn December from its least profitable month to its most profitable.

There have been many changes at Cookie Time over the years, but one important thing hasn't changed at all - the Original Chocolate Chip cookie recipe hasn't changed for 25 years!

General Manager Lincoln Booth says the heritage of the business has been crucial to its success today.
more to come

"The last 25 years have been an outstanding journey and we are well poised to build on the successes of the past with innovation driving the way forward supported by a passionate, energetic team."
key facts

- Cookie Time began in February 1983
- The Cookie Time factory is in Main South Road, Templeton, Christchurch
- Cookie Time is still privately owned by brothers Guy and Michael Mayell.
- Cookie Time is the New Zealand market leader in its category
- Cookie Time is now generally considered an iconic kiwi brand (alongside icons such as Buzzy Bee, and L&P)... one which represents the classic kiwi corner dairy.

- Cookie Time holds the Guinness World Record for baking the World's Biggest Cookie (13 tonnes, including 2.5 tonnes of chocolate!)
- Cookie Time created the kiwi tradition of Christmas Cookies
- Cookie Time factory 'all you can eat tours' in the late 80's stopped traffic on the main road and are still fondly remembered by people throughout the country.
- There are plenty of interesting stories about the past 25 years of Cookie Time.
- Such as how the size of the Cookie Time cookie came about - there was no money to buy machinery in the early days so the cookie dough was put onto baking trays using an ice cream scoop - the resulting size was so popular it stayed.

o Or why the chunks of chocolate are the size they are - using the same 'number eight wire' approach as a result of no money, Michael used an old bacon slicer and put kingsized blocks of chocolate through it - again the result worked so well that became the Cookie Time chocolate chunk size from then on.
- Cookie Time cookies are still individually hand crafted like they were in the old days. That's why they all look slightly different from each other (the uniformity of biscuits lack personality in their opinion)!
- The company is closely connected with education through the work of the Cookie Munchers Charitable Trust. The Trust was set up to help 'New Zealand kids discover their gifts' and, championed by Cookie Time co-owner Guy Mayell - the Trust works closely with the cause of dyslexia.

- 2005 saw Cookie Time create the world's most balanced food with One Square Meal. One Square Meal won three gold awards at the Massey Food Awards 2006.
- In 2007 One Square Meal became the company's 2nd highest selling product, after The Original Chocolate Chip Cookie.
- The company is celebrating its 25th birthday by asking members of the public to its Christchurch based Templeton factory on Saturday 16 February where the Original Chocolate Chip Cookie will be on sale at 1983 prices and the Cookie Muncher will be blowing out candles on a giant cookie every hour.


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