NZ Food Awards showcases future of food

Tuesday 20 August 2019

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.

Ross Kane and Professor Jan Thomas

Ross Kane, managing director of Speirs Foods, parent company of The Whole Mix Co. Limited, who were awarded the 2018 Massey University Supreme Award and Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas.

Last updated: Friday 20 May 2022

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 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."

2018 New Zealand Food Awards

Martin Crewes from Incognito Artists wowed the crowd of around 400 at Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre last year.

Finalists are on trend

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

And the 2019 finalists are ...

The Shout Alcoholic Beverages Award

8 Wired Brewing Ltd

Lewis Road Creamery

Lone Bee

Mama’s Brew Shop Ltd

The White Sheep Co (Two products in this category)

Cuisine Artisan Award

Alexandra Fine Foods (2009) Limited

Augustines of Central

Bellefield Ltd (Two products in this category)

Betsitas Limited

Flourish Foods Limited

Forage & Ferment

Go Wild LTD

KK ME Limited


Nature’s Foods Limited

Poaka New Zealand Ltd

Reflection Foods Limited

Scoop Gelato NZ Ltd

Te Mata Figs

The Drunken Nanny Ltd

The White Sheep Co

Wild Game Salamis


Zamati Ltd

James & Wells Business Innovation Award

Genoese Foods

Kiwi Quinoa Limited

New Zealand Artesian Water Ltd

The Pure Food Co

Chilled/Short Shelf Life Award, in association with Eagle Protect

Inception Culinary Limited

Life Health Foods NZ Ltd

SunPork Fresh Foods Pty Ltd (Three products in this category)

The TATUA Co-operative Dairy Company Limited

New Zealand Food Safety Primary Sector Products Award

New Zealand Quinoa Limited

Kiwi Quinoa Limited

Olliff Farm Ltd

Wild Game Salamis

Frozen Award, in association with Palmerston North City Council

Cartel Food Company

Flourish Foods Limited (Two products in this category)

Food Partners Ltd

Waitoa (Two products in this category)

Countdown Grocery Award

Barker’s of Geraldine (Two products in this category)

Blue Frog Breakfast(Two products in this category)

Ceres Organics

Nature’s Foods Limited

Proper Snack Foods Ltd

Massey University Health and Wellbeing Award

Food Partners Ltd (Two products in this category)

Gluten Free Store Ltd

Inception Culinary Limited

KK ME Limited

Villa Bumblebee

Zamati Ltd

Non-Alcoholic Beverages Award

Hakanoa Handmade Drinks Ltd

Moonuka Milk Ltd

Wisdom Nutraceuticals Limited (Three products in this category)

Novel Food or Beverage Award, in association with Z Energy and The FoodBowl

Lone Bee

Moonuka Milk Ltd

Mushroom House

Te Mata Figs

The Humble Oat Co.

The White Sheep Co

Wooden Spoon Boutique Freezery Ltd