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New Zealand Food Awards winners announced

Media Release: Thursday October 13, 2016

New Zealand Food Awards unveils the ‘best of the best’ for 2016

The winners of the 2016 New Zealand Food Awards, in association with Massey University, were unveiled this evening at a gala dinner among 400 guests at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, with nine products from 11 companies taking out the top spots.

A record number of entries – up 62 per cent on last year – made competition for the prestigious awards more intense than ever this year.

Wanganui’s Coastal Spring Lamb proved the overall champion, claiming the ultimate accolade of the Massey University Supreme Award, as well as the Export Innovation and Chilled Foods Award categories with its Lamb Rack. Judges were particularly impressed with the process used to grow, market and sell the product from pasture to plate.

Coastal Spring Lamb owners, Richard and Suze Redmayne, say winning the Massey University Supreme Award was a dream come true and great recognition for the farming families behind the high quality product.

“We are very passionate about producing a tender, succulent and full of flavour product for Kiwis and consumers overseas. We’re thrilled to be a part of tonight’s celebration of New Zealand food and to have received such positive recognition for something we have spent generations perfecting,” Mr Redmayne said.

“It’s validation that what we are doing is on the right path, and we are so privileged to have had such great success this evening.”

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Other winners include KEEWAI in the BITE Gourmet Award category with its Premium New Zealand Freshwater Crayfish, and last year’s winners Blue Frog Breakfast in the Artisan Award category with its Zesty Orange Syrup,and Barker’s of Geraldine in the Dry Award category with its New Yorker Mustard Relish.

The refreshed Primary Sector Products and Food Safety Culture Awards, in association with the Ministry for Primary Industries, were snapped up by Spring Sheep Milk Co. and Open County Dairy Ltd. respectively. The Business Innovation Award was claimed by Constellation Brands.

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey said the calibre of entries this year was high and being named as a winner is a huge achievement.

“The strong interest in this year’s New Zealand Food Awards is a testament to the development and growth of the sector,” Mr Maharey said.

“As a leader in agrifood business, Massey University is proud to provide a forum to showcase new initiatives and celebrate quality New Zealand food and the people who are making our food industry the best in the world.

“Together with our strategic partners, we share a vision of New Zealand securing a reputation as the world’s leading producer of quality, natural, healthy, nutritious food that people everywhere love to eat.”

Celebrity judges, acclaimed chef and food writer Ray McVinnie, food writer and cookbook author Nici Wickes and Auckland restaurateur and award-winning chef Geoff Scott, had a challenging job narrowing down the winners due to the quality of entries and the level of innovation on display.

Ms Wickes said the quality of products entered this year were inspiring. “Judging was quite an onslaught of tasting but someone has to do it! It was a fantastic job and we were really delighted with the diversity of products and the level of innovation that we were presented with.

“What I love to see year in, year out, and more I would say these days, is we start to see some of our uniquely New Zealand ingredients coming through. Kumara being used in innovative ways, horopito, locally grown saffron, that sort of thing, that to me is what the New Zealand Food Awards are really doing quite well,” Ms Wickes said.

A first for the New Zealand Food Awards was the presentation of a special award to Massey University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey, who finishes his tenure at the end of this year. Mr Maharey was presented the inaugural “Support to the Food Industry Award” from the New Zealand Food Awards, by Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith.

Mr Maharey has been a huge advocate for the New Zealand Food Awards programme during his eight years at Massey and has been involved in developing the industry both nationally and internationally, driving and supporting initiatives such as the Food Innovation Network and FoodHQ.

He has also been involved in international initiatives including collaboration with countries of huge importance to New Zealand’s food industry, like China, Singapore and the Netherlands, helping to secure millions of dollars of research funding.

Winning products are now eligible to use the New Zealand Food Awards Quality Mark highlighting the superiority of the products to both consumers and industry and helping to boost sales and distribution domestically and internationally.

As a leading provider of knowledge for food and health innovation in New Zealand, Massey University owns and organises the awards, recognising the creativity, innovation and excellence of our largest export sector since 1987. Each year the awards celebrate new initiatives in food and beverage production and manufacturing, identifying not only company leaders who inspire others to meet their standards of excellence, but the creative work of product innovators in packaging design, nutrition, enterprise, food safety and quality.

The New Zealand Food Awards is made possible thanks to Massey University and the family of strategic and supporting partners – Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development, Countdown, FoodHQ, The FoodBowl, The New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, NZME, Review Publishing, XPO Exhibitions, RangeMe, NZFSIT, Brother Design, Palmerston North City Council and Villa Maria.

For more information, please visit http://www.foodawards.co.nz/.

New Zealand Food Awards 2016 List of Winners:

Award CategoryCompanyProductLocation
Artisan Food Producer Award in association with Supermarket News 1st PlaceBlue Frog BreakfastZesty Orange SyrupAuckland
Artisan 2nd PlaceThe Seriously Good Food Co.Salt & Pepper Range Variants: Pinot Noir and ChardonnayInvercargill
Artisan 3rd PlaceThe Clareville BakeryClareville Lavash Style CrackersCarterton
Artisan Highly CommendedMr Pops Ice BlocksMr Pops Flat White & Juicy Apple Ice BlocksWellington
Soda Press Co.Raspberry and Mint Soda SyrupWanaka
Something to Crow AboutRoasted Seed RangeAuckland
Who ate all the Pies?Family RangeDunedin
The Larder ProjectSesame and Linseed Bread MixAuckland
BITE Gourmet Award in association with the New Zealand Herald BITE MagazineKEEWAIPremium New Zealand Freshwater CrayfishMosgiel
Beverages Award in association with FoodHQVilla MariaVilla Maria Private Bin Lighter Rosé 2016Auckland
Chilled Foods AwardCoastal Spring Lamb and Coastal LambLamb RackWanganui
Dry Goods AwardBarker's of GeraldineNew Yorker Mustard RelishGeraldine
Frozen AwardFonterra Brands (Tip Top)Kapiti Feijoa and Pear SorbetAuckland
Health and Wellness Award in association with Massey UniversityLife Health Foods NZ Ltd.Bean Supreme Kumara BurgerAuckland
Novel Ingredients Award in association with The FoodBowlKiwigarden Ltd.Coconut Raspberry Yoghurt DropsHastings
Primary Sector Products Award in association with Ministry for Primary IndustriesSpring Sheep Milk Co.Sheep Whole Milk PowderAuckland
Food Safety Culture Award in association with Ministry for Primary IndustriesOpen Country Dairy Ltd.N/AAuckland
Export Innovation Award in association with New Zealand Trade and EnterpriseCoastal Spring Lamb and Coastal LambN/AWanganui
Business Innovation AwardConstellation BrandsN/AAuckland
Massey University Supreme AwardCoastal Spring Lamb and Coastal LambLamb RackWanganui

About the New Zealand Food Awards:

The New Zealand Food Awards are open to food, beverage and ingredient products, with specific categories for small manufacturers and large manufacturers. Special award categories are open for primary food producers, food service providers and ingredient supply companies. Products entered must be made in New Zealand.

Previous winners of note include Magills Butchery Ltd, Sealord Group, J. Friend & Co., Pure Delish and the Tasman Bay Food Group.


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