New Zealand Food Awards showcases future of food

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As proud sponsors of the New Zealand Food Awards we are delighted to see which products have been announced as this year’s finalists. Read the full press release below or click through to see the list.

NZ Food Awards showcases future of food

Allergen-aware foods, vegan-friendly, hemp-based products, and gin and vodka handcrafted from sheep milk are among the finalists of this year’s New Zealand Food Awards.

The finalists announced today include several winners from previous years – Barker’s of Geraldine, Blue Frog Breakfast and The Pure Food Co – as well as new products including goat sausages and freeze-dried manuka honey.

Sixty individual products from 48 companies are finalists in 10 categories and one category winner will be named the Massey University Supreme Award winner at the Gala Dinner in Auckland on October 23.

The awards have celebrated New Zealand manufactured products, focusing on innovation and excellence since 1987. Sponsored by the University, they are open to small and large food and beverage manufacturers, primary food producers, food service providers and ingredient supply companies.

Last year’s supreme award winner was The Whole Mix Co. Limited for its vegetable noodle range. The company, owned by Marton-based Spiers Foods, also won the Massey University Health and Wellbeing Award, and the James & Wells Business Innovation Award.

Massey Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says the University’s connection to the New Zealand food industry dates back to its inception as an agricultural college, in 1927, and its patronage of the New Zealand Food Awards dates back to the awards’ inception 60 years later.

“Through our excellent industry-engaged research and teaching, Massey has a key role in the success of the industry,” Professor Thomas says. “It is particularly good, therefore, to be able to support the innovators and success stories through these awards and we are extremely proud of the role the awards have had in recognising the excellence and importance of our world-class food and beverage industry.

“The standard of this year’s entries was, again, outstanding and the calibre and innovation of the finalists reflects the thought, care and artistry of the producers. Selecting finalists was tough enough for our judges; choosing winners will be a supreme challenge. Congratulations to you all.”

The New Zealand Food Awards expert judging panel includes celebrity judges Bite magazine’s Ray McVinnie, chef Geoff Scott and World Kitchen television host and chef Nici Wickes.

Plant-based product entries were up this year, as well as vegan products, food with hemp based elements and allergen-aware foods such as dairy-free and gluten-free, Mr Scott says. “I guess that’s a real reflection of where we see the interests in the New Zealand consumer driving that. Food companies are responding with a push towards a lot of plant-based food products this time around – much more than last year.”

The New Zealand Food Awards are an opportunity for businesses to benchmark their product against others, he adds. “I think it gives New Zealand companies an awesome opportunity to showcase their expertise and the standards that they’re setting with their business practice against other companies. I think it’s a really good measuring stick, shows excellence and recognises innovation and creativity within the food and beverage industry within New Zealand, and I think that’s such a fantastic thing to have.

“Seeing the different creativity and the way that our New Zealand food producers are working hard at coming up with fantastic new products – it’s just a real privilege to be part of
that and to see first-hand brand new products coming to market.”

Ms Wickes says sustainable packaging was also a highlight this year. “We’re noticing a lot of packaging that looks really great. I remember five or six years ago the packaging was  almost rudimentary; it’s much better now. We’re also seeing a definite trend of people really looking at sustainability, a lot more compostable packaging.”

Apart from Massey, as principal sponsor and event organiser, the awards are made possible with the support of New Zealand Food Safety, Countdown, Cuisine Magazine, James & Wells, The Intermedia Group New Zealand, Eagle Protect, the Palmerston North City Council, FoodHQ, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, The FoodBowl, Z Energy, Villa Maria and The FoodPilot.

Winning products will earn the New Zealand Food Award’s Quality Mark to highlight the superiority of their products to both shoppers and the industry, as well as helping to boost
sales and distribution both domestically and internationally.

For more information, please visit www.foodawards.co.nz