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Judges ‘charmed’ by NZ Food Awards entries

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Judges ‘charmed’ by NZ Food Awards entries

New gluten-free products that taste like the real thing are just some of the innovative foods the judges have noted in this year’s New Zealand Food Awards.

The judges, led by renowned cook and food critic Ray McVinnie, have tasted and appraised more than 100 products at Massey University’s Albany campus over the past few days.

The New Zealand Food Awards, in association with Massey University, celebrate food innovation in New Zealand and reward excellence in a range of categories – from gourmet, snacks and confectionary to packaging design and research and development. The awards will be presented at a gala dinner at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland on October 19.

Gluten-free goodness
Judge Dr John Grigor, a senior lecturer at Massey’s Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, says one of the notable things about this year’s awards are the gluten-free products. “They are obviously more in demand with food intolerances growing, but are very hard to get right,” he says. “There are a number of products, both cereals and breads, that taste a lot like the real thing.”

Chief judge Ray McVinnie says it is this type of innovation the judges are looking for. “We judge everything from taste, smell and mouth feel to packaging – the product has to appeal on every level,” he says. “We’ve got such good food to work with here in New Zealand so we get a head start on a lot of people. There are some pretty innovative, and I have to say charming, ways of putting food into packages this year.”

Learn more about the judging process here:

Cuisine magazine deputy food editor Fiona Smith says in the end it is all about taste. “If it doesn’t taste good nobody is going to want to eat it,” she says. “But I’m also interested in the ingredients that people are putting in: are they staying true to the ingredients? If it says it’s courgette flavoured does it taste like courgette?”

Steve Mills of Progressive Enterprises says the packaging has been of a high quality. “Particularly with some of the products being re-sealable, so the customer can use some of the product and then re-seal it.”

Ben van Delden of KPMG is judging the export and small and emerging enterprise awards. “We’re here to help businesses progress and take their products into new markets,” he says. “It’s been really exciting to watch some of last year’s entrants come through and succeed off the back of winning the awards. It’s been pleasing to see what Rockit Apples managed to achieve, and Green Monkey organic baby food with some of the progress they’ve made going on to win additional awards in the Australian market, for example.”


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