Last-minute entries for the NZ Food Awards are coming in thick and fast. The awards recognise creativity in product development, enterprise, food safety and packaging, as well as business innovation.
Alongside chief judge Ray McVinnie will be new judges Geoff Scott, owner chef of Vinnies Restaurant, and Nici Wickes, Viva Eating Out editor. The judging panel will also include food specialists and food manufacturing industry experts.
Finalists in NZ Food Awards also have the opportunity to attend business capability-building workshops run by KPMG and Rabobank, and retail and commercialisation mentoring sessions run by Countdown.
“Since the awards began, New Zealand food has come a long way in terms of quality and innovation,” says chief judge Ray McVinnie. “We have a lot of talent in the New Zealand food industry, and the NZ Food Awards are an opportunity to recognise those businesses that foster excellence and innovation with food.”
Award winners can market their success by including the NZ Food Awards quality mark on their products, and last year’s Supreme Award winner Mt Cook Alpine Salmon CEO Geoff Matthews says winning the NZ Food Awards has benefitted their export-focused business. In addition to taking out the Supreme Award, winning the Food Safety Award has given them an edge when exporting to international markets including the United States, where strict food safety regulations are in place.
This year the AsureQuality Food Safety Award will focus on products that contribute meaningfully to improving public confidence in New Zealand’s food safety system, and manage risks effectively and consistently.
Massey University’s Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health head Professor Richard Archer is enthusiastic about the entries received so far, and the opportunities that winning an award can present. “Each year, I’m pleasantly surprised by the quality of the entries we receive,” he says. “The processed food and beverage industry in New Zealand is growing so rapidly – it’s an area of huge opportunity locally and globally. Entering the NZ Food Awards is a great springboard to international markets, so we actively encourage New Zealand businesses to enter today. Don’t miss out!”
Once entries close, judging will take place in early August at Massey University’s Albany campus, with finalists announced at a cocktail evening on August 30 hosted by Villa Maria Estate. Winners will be announced at a gala dinner to be held at The Langham Hotel in Auckland on September 27.