Nutty about Forty Thieves

Forty Thieves founders Shyr Gelber and Brent Godfrey’s award winning nut butter journey.

Following a decade of fast-paced living in Sydney, partners; Shyr and Brent embarked on an inspiring overseas adventure before returning to New Zealand. During their travels, they decided to open a healthy food business, fueled by their common passion for fitness and healthy eating. Brent imported a mill and started experimenting with different nut combinations while Shyr busied herself with designed their vibrant branding, labels and website. Within a few months, the couple launched their creations at The Auckland Food Show where a number of stores including Farro Fresh expressed their interest and starting stocking the nut butters.


The past 12 months has shown a lot of growth for Forty Thieves with more than 120 stores now offering their delicious nut butters nationwide. Brent and Shyr grew their production team in their Stanmore factory to seven superstars with additional sales and support staff too. The team launched a couple of new products including Almond Butter Crunchy and their recently awarded Bronze Medalist; Hazelnut Crunch with Organic Cocoa. With a focus on customer engagement, The Forty Thieves team attended multiple food shows and health expos around NZ, where they were able to meet fellow nut butter enthusiasts and discover what they love about the growing brand.

Customer favourite

Salted Macadamia won the Farro Fresh People’s Choice award in 2016, just two months after launching to market and a Gold Medal at this year’s Outstanding Food Producers Awards. Salted Macadamia with Maple & Vanilla has been a true favourite since day 1. People love it for its amazing taste. Unlike many dessert sauces or spreads it’s made from 97 per cent nuts and contains no refined sugar, preservatives or artificial flavours. 

The ingredients

Country of origin is important for the team at Forty Thieves. All nuts are non-GMO and when possible, organic ingredients are selected. Their spray-free macadamias are sourced from local New Zealand farmers and they use sulphite-free almonds from South Australia. Forty Thieves Peanut Butter is made using flavoursome high-oleic peanuts from Argentina. Salted Macadamia uses pure Canadian maple syrup instead of refined white sugar and whole crushed vanilla bean over imitations. Hazelnut Crunch is made with organic stone-ground cocoa and organic coconut sugar. Each nut butter is packaged in 90 per cent recycled glass jars. Metal lids are used over cheaper plastic alternatives and the New Zealand-made labels are printed on FSC approved paper.

Story behind the name Forty Thieves

The Forty Thieves name is inspired by an Arabian Nights tale; Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. It’s an adventure packed story of hidden treasure, an enchanted cave and the famous secret passcode: Open Sesame. In the story, the thieves hide their jewels and precious metals in a cave and in a similar sense, Forty Thieves Nut Butters hide their treasure in every jar – protein, heart-healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and precious minerals. This is where the Forty Thieves slogan ‘Naturally Packed with Hidden Gems’ comes from.

Future plans

The Stanmore Forty Thieves HQ has an office, factory and warehouse. While this offers enough room for the short to mid-term expansion, the team are certainly going to need more space in the coming year, as more retailers take on the products. 2018 saw the first shipment of nut butters to the USA. More overseas opportunities have presented themselves for the new year. There’s a number of new products coming out 2019, plus events and competitions to take part in. The team will continue to develop their eco- friendly efforts with innovative ways to reduce impact on the environment, already in the pipeline.


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