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Extended judging panel for 2018 NZ Food Producer Awards

The Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards is delighted to announce an extended judging panel for its second annual awards. Following the 2017 inaugural awards, the organisers are calling for more entries for this year. Entries close on Friday 2 March 2018, with product to be judged at the Fresh Factory in Auckland on Wednesday 21 March 2018.

Co-organiser Kathie Bartley of Marvellous Marketing said they looked for learnings from last year’s event where more than 150 New Zealand’s top products were assessed. To streamline assessment, they are introducing specialist panels to judge each of the four major categories; paddock, dairy, water, earth. Products will again be scored out of 100 points with the best awarded Gold and Silver medals. All Gold medallists will be in the running to be the Champion for their category. The most outstanding product as assessed by the judges will be named Supreme Champion 2018.

In addition to this, there is a specialist team judging non-alcoholic drinks. Specialists will also judge the NZ Life & Leisure Spirt of New Zealand Award, FMCG Business Outstanding New Product, Label & Litho Outstanding Design and Marvellous Marketing Outstanding Drink.

The judging panel is led by Lauraine Jacobs, a well-known champion of New Zealand artisan food producers. Lauraine Jacobs is pleased to again be leading the search for New Zealand’s finest products and says: “The inaugural Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards judging last year introduced me to some really exciting products from clever food artisans, and smart larger food producers. These Awards have become a showcase to not only introduce the new, but to remind us of some of the consistently fine products and produce that display Kiwi ingenuity.”

“The judging panel are keen to see and taste the results of the consistent hard and admirable work of farmers and innovators who send wonderful foods to the local and international market. I’m really looking forward to seeing an even wider reach in the 2018 Awards.”

The Dairy Panel is Sam Mannering, chef and owner of Pah Homestead Café; Trudi Nelson, media personality and co-owner of Fresh, and Aaron Pooch, Marketing Manager for Tetra-Pak NZ. The Paddock and Water categories will be assessed by; Enzo Bettio, owner Vin Alto restaurant; Mat McLean, chef and owner Palate Restaurant in Hamilton and Kathy Paterson, contributor for Bite magazine and cook book author. The Earth Panel is led by Lucy Cory, contributor to NZ Life & Leisure and with Julie Moore, co-owner of Moore Wilson; Allyson Gofton, food writer and author and Coast ambassador; Tamara Rubanowski, FMCG editor; Pip Duncan of, Roscoe Johnason of Ara Wines, a regular restaurant judge and Niki Bezzant, Editor at Large of Healthy Food Guide. Emily King will again judge the sustainability section. Judges from a wine show background, Cameron Douglas MS and Jane Boyle will be judging the Marvellous Marketing Outstanding Drink.

Roman Jewell co-founder of Fix and Fogg, which won the Producer Earth Crafted for its Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter and the People’s Choice Award says the awards are a great initiative for New Zealand producers. “The Awards are just one night, but winning has a much longer, wider reach. Getting our name out there in the producer community was incredible for the Fix and Fogg brand. The Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards brings together the food community. New Zealand is relatively small and we aren’t in a big industry and it was nice to get together. There is a true community aspect to it. It was a very big honour to take out the People’s Choice Award. It gives us credibility and shows the quality we aim to provide. That is so important to us – the commitment to quality and great ingredients.”

New Zealand producers harvesting, growing and making food which is available for sale are encouraged to enter the awards online at by Friday 2 March 2018. All entries receive feedback from the judging panel and each entry receives a pass to a complimentary food marketing workshops being held in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.


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