Entries open for revamped 2021 New Zealand Food Awards

NZFA Supreme Winner 2020

Supreme Award winner Veronica Shale (centre), from Fair Food Charitable Trust, with supporters (from left) Jason Crawford (Eventbase); Justine Knowles (Fair Food); Pat Tobin (Toby's Seafoods) and Professor Ray Geor (Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Sciences) at the New Zealand Food Heroes 2020 gala event.

Entries for the 2021 New Zealand Food Awards open this Saturday (1 May), with revamped categories, a new judging process and team of judges. After a disrupted 2020, the awards programme is returning to its roots, with a few fresh concepts for entrants.

The New Zealand Food Awards have celebrated New Zealand’s food and beverage manufacturers, focusing on innovation and excellence, since 1987. Powered by Massey University, the awards are open to small and large food and beverage manufacturers, primary food producers, food service providers and ingredient supply companies. This year, the awards have expanded to build on last year’s “Food Hero” theme – developed during lockdown to celebrate the way Kiwi companies responded and reacted to the global pandemic.

Entrants have the opportunity to put forward their products to an expert judging panel, receive feedback and benchmark themselves against industry peers, providing valuable insights for future development and approaches. The award categories provide many opportunities for manufacturers to showcase different products aimed at national and international markets.

Massey University is proud to be principal sponsor and owner of the New Zealand Food Awards. The university’s involvement stems from the leading role it plays at the forefront of food-related education and research in New Zealand and globally for decades through a range of health and science programmes and research centres. From food science and product development to nutrition and dietetics, as well as farming and horticulture, Massey’s name is synonymous with New Zealand’s innovative food sector.

Massey University Vice Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas is thrilled to see the awards’ emphasis on innovation, sustainability and excellence.

“These three pillars are at the centre of everything we do at Massey, so it’s great to see the awards align so well with the very institute behind it all. All businesses should strive for excellence, embrace innovation, and now more than ever, be more sustainable in all that they do.

“Massey is excited to again tell the stories behind New Zealand’s exceptional food and beverage producers. We are proud to be part of a partner network that educates and supports producers, empowering them to represent the best of Aotearoa in food and beverage product innovation globally. I look forward to seeing what products and companies put themselves out there this year.”


NZFA Dessert Branding

Winners will be announced at a gala dinner in October.

Categories and judging

There are 12 categories this year, with products and business judged across three areas:

  • Product awards
  • Business awards
  • Community awards

Each category has set criteria and only entrants exhibiting the highest levels of the awards' core characteristics will rise to the standard of finalist, winner and supreme winner. The judging process reflects the New Zealand Food Awards brand values of innovation, sustainability and excellence.

The judging process is built on the pillars of technical capability, consumer acceptability, regulatory compliance and food quality and safety. Entries are required to meet their category criteria and baseline scoring for each judging phase to progress. This ensures consumers can trust any brand wearing the New Zealand Food Awards quality mark, know the product is manufactured here in New Zealand and that it represents outstanding food technology, production, manufacturing and marketing.

The supreme winner is selected from the winners of each of the individual category awards. Businesses can enter each product in up to three categories and in addition to this, there is free entry into the Food Safety Culture and Food Hero categories.

The New Zealand Food Awards are proud to be represented by a panel of New Zealand’s leading food and beverage experts as judges. The judges represent a cross-section of the industry and bring technical, culinary, scientific, and commercial expertise to the awards.

The awards programme is made possible with the support of Palmerston North City Council, New Zealand Food Safety, Countdown, AsureQuality, Cuisine Magazine, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Villa Maria, FMCG Business, FoodHQ, The FoodBowl, The FoodPilot, and The New Zealand Institute of Food Science & Technology Ltd.


2021 Categories

Product Awards

Beverage – Sponsored by the Food Innovation Network

Artisan – Sponsored by Cuisine

Chilled  – Sponsored by Food HQ

Below Zero

Pantry – Sponsored by Countdown

Primary Sector – Sponsored by New Zealand Food Safety

Health and Wellbeing – Sponsored by Countdown


Product Lifetime Achievement Award - Sponsored by AsureQuality


Business Awards

Business Innovation

Food Safety Culture – Sponsored by New Zealand Food Safety


Community Awards

Food Hero – Sponsored by Palmerston North City Council


Key dates:

1 May – Entries open

31 May – Entries close

5-9 July – Judging week

18 August – Finalists announced

18-31 August – People’s Choice voting open

14 October – Gala dinner and winners announced – location yet to be confirmed

For more information, visit www.foodawards.co.nz

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