The NZ Food Awards officially open for 2018

Nick Hammond, chief operating officer of Spring Sheep Milk Co, with Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas, after winning last year's Massey University Supreme Award.

Entries are now open for this year’s New Zealand Food Awards, giving the crème de la crème of New Zealand’s food and beverage industry the opportunity to showcase their success and innovations.

The 2018 New Zealand Food Awards, powered by Massey University, celebrates innovation, creativity and originality throughout the food and beverage value chain. This year, to more closely align with Massey University’s key areas of research, the NZ Food Awards is looking to highlight products that are focused on sustainability, market relevance and have strong health and nutritional attributes. 

The awards are aimed at small and large food and beverage manufacturers, primary food producers, food service providers and ingredient supply companies. Winning products will earn the New Zealand Food Awards “Quality Mark” to highlight the superiority of their products to both shoppers and the industry, as well as boost sales and distribution both domestically and internationally.

This year’s awards see the creation of several new award categories and some changes to existing ones. For the first time, all award categories will be open to all entrants regardless of the size of their business. This means that smaller food and beverage companies can now enter into any Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) categories, and larger corporations can enter the Cuisine Artisan Awards.

The award categories provide many opportunities for manufacturers to showcase different products. This year, the NZ Food Awards is excited to introduce the Product Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be awarded to a product that has withstood the test of time and is still on shelves as a result of continued innovation, understanding its target market, and creative use of business channels.

More than 380 people turned out to see last year's winners announced at the Sky City Convention Centre.

Celebrating Kiwi innovation in food and beverage

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says that the New Zealand Food Awards are an important annual milestone in the food and beverage industry calendar.

“Massey is very proud of these awards, which have gone from strength to strength,” Professor Thomas says. “So many aspects of the food industry are integral to the research and teaching Massey does, from soils, land use, horticulture, pastures, livestock breeding and welfare, food science, food safety, food production, packaging, marketing; the list just goes on. We know how important the industry is and will always be to New Zealand and we know how important and prestigious these awards are to previous winners.”

Last year’s winner of the New Zealand Food Awards Massey University Supreme Award was Taupo-based Spring Sheep Milk Co with its Vanilla Flavoured Probiotic Sheep Milk Powder, which also won the NZTE Export Innovation Award. Spring Sheep Milk Co beat out an exceptional range of finalists who set the bar high on the 30th anniversary of the awards.

The New Zealand Food Awards are made possible thanks to principal sponsor and event organiser Massey University, and with the support of ATEED, Countdown, Cuisine Magazine, Eagle Protect, FoodHQ, FoodTech PackTech, James & Wells, Ministry for Primary Industries, The New Zealand Herald, NZIFST, NZTE, The FoodBowl, The FoodPilot and PNCC.

Sales manager Mike Sproule and managing director Jane Mayell from Original Foods Baking Co, with Dr John Mansell from James & Wells. The company won the James & Wells Business Innovation Award in 2017.

The tough task of judging New Zealand's best

This year’s judging will be led by Head Judge Kay McMath, with additional FMCG, James & Wells Business Innovation and Massey University Health and Wellbeing Award judging panels. In addition, The Cuisine Artisan Awards will be judged by Fiona Smith (Head Judge and Cuisine Senior Food Writer), Kelli Brett (Cuisine Editor), Ginny Grant (Cuisine Senior Food Writer) plus a specially selected panel of industry experts.

Entries for the competition close on Saturday, June 30. For more information, please visit

Key dates:

  • Entries Open: Tuesday 1st May
  • Entries Close: Saturday 30th June
  • Judging: Tuesday 10th July to Friday 13th July
  • Awards Gala Dinner: Wednesday 17th October

Award categories: 

  • Cuisine Artisan Award
  • Alcoholic Beverages Award
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages Award
  • Countdown Grocery Foods Award
  • Chilled Award
  • Frozen Award
  • Massey University Health and Wellbeing Award
  • MPI Primary Sector Products Award
  • MPI Food Safety Award
  • James & Wells Business Innovation Award
  • Novel Food or Beverage Award in association with ATEED and The FoodBowl
  • Massey University Supreme Award
  • Product Lifetime Achievement Award


Head Judge:
Kay McMath

FMCG Judging Panel: 
Ray McVinnie
Geoff Scott
Anne Scott (NZIFST)
Alastair Sayers (Packaging Council)
Consumer Judges
Abby Thompson
Food HQ

James & Wells Business Innovation Award:
Dr John Mansell

Massey University Health & Wellbeing Award:
Dr Carol Wham

Ministry for Primary Industries Food Safety + Primary Sector Products Awards:
Ministry for Primary Industries

Cuisine Artisan Awards:
Fiona Smith (Head Judge and Cuisine Senior Food Writer)
Kelli Brett (Cuisine Editor)
Ginny Grant (Cuisine Senior Food Writer)

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