THE WHOLE MIX Spiralised Vegetable Noodles Judged Supreme Winner at 2018 NZ Food Awards

THE WHOLE MIX vegetable noodle range produced by Speirs Foods from the Rangitikei town of Marton has taken out the Massey University Supreme Award winner at this year’s New Zealand Food Awards. The Whole Mix Co. Limited also won the Massey University Health and Wellbeing Award and the James & Wells Business Innovation Award for its noodle range that includes Zucchini, Butternut, Medley (Beetroot, Carrot, Zucchini) and

Kumara. Judges said the products are a tasty and nutritious alternative to pasta, can be used in stir-fries and salads, or eaten straight from the package and their growing popularity reflects some of the changing tastes of New Zealand consumers. Ross Kane, Managing Director of Speirs Foods, parent company of The Whole Mix Co. Limited, says winning the awards is recognition of the way the company has evolved and improved over the past 18 months. “We got the team reinvigorated, got the right culture within the business and set a goal of

being more innovative and producing what people really wanted in the market place, and I
think it’s just a celebration of that journey over the past 12 to 18 months. Our vision is to
create fresh food to make people’s lives healthier and easier and this is just the beginning of
our journey – watch this space for more innovation,” Mr Kane says.

The collective team of judges say the vegetable noodle range rides the wave of market demand for easy to serve fresh vegetables, with a twist. “These prepacked, spiralised, microwaveable vegetable noodles, prepared from locally-grown vegetables, are delicious, nutritious and fill a much-needed gap in the fresh vegetable market. Consumers are crying out for fresh products they can cook or prepare quickly and easily.

The judges especially loved that the vege noodles were so versatile, and could be served up raw to spice up a salad, or microwaved to offer additional nutritional vegetable options for busy Kiwis. “This product demonstrates innovation, creativity and tasty NZ grown produce. Well done to the team at The Whole Mix Co. Limited,” they said.

Head of James & Wells’ Food & Beverage Innovation team Carrick Robinson says, “The Whole Mix Co. Limited have listened to their consumers and have followed healthy eating and convenience trends to considerably grow the category. They have indicatively adapted the way every department operates following the launch of the new consumer brand and also understand the value of protecting it.” The 11 category winners and Supreme Award winner were unveiled at the gala dinner event at Auckland’s Sky City Convention Centre last night, in front of 400 guests. The awards, which have been running since 1987, celebrate creative innovation from New Zealand’s food and beverage manufacturers. More than 220 products were entered this year, with 67 products from 54 companies being named finalists.

Belinda Bonnor
Marketing Manager
Speirs Foods
Ph: 06 323 0563 Mobile: 021 949 393

The Apple Press Win The Non-alcoholic Beverage Award in Association with FoodHQ at the NZ Food Awards 2018

The Apple Press® from Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand is on a mission to make the world’s best apple juice, from what are quite possibly the world’s best apples – this is apple juice like you’ve never tasted before. The judges of the 2018 New Zealand Food Awards recognized the hard work and innovation put in by The Apple Press®  who were judged winners of the Non-alcoholic Beverage category.

Ross Beaton Co-Founder of The Apple Press said they were absolutely thrilled to win. ‘We are a still a new start-up so to win a national award after 5 months is just fantastic. We are really proud of our products and believe we make the world’s best apple juice, so this award means a lot” Beaton went on to thank The Apple Press team, their customer fan-base and supporters such as Callaghan Innovation, T&G Global and NZTE.

FoodHQ was proud to sponsor the category and we are excited for them to continue to share the pleasure of drinking a Hawke’s Bay apple with the world.

Dr. Abby Thompson CEO of FoodHQ was impressed by the quality and care that goes into the products produced by The Apple Press. Dr. Thompson commented that “this product demonstrates innovation, creativity and tasty NZ grown produce combined with a passionate team with a clear focus.”

The Apple Press® apples are given the 5-star treatment, hand-picked at their peak ripeness, cold pressed just once, then bottled delicious for you. They press from individual varieties like Jazz™, Braeburn and Royal Gala because they reckon, just like wine, every apple has its own taste characteristics. They also sustainable source the cosmetically blemished apples others reject, and can trace their apples back to their orchards of origin.

The best apple juice in the world will be available nationwide in New Zealand so keep an eye out at your local store!

Modern Technologies and Food Purchasing: Guest Post by Dr. Mike Boland

A Brief History of Modern Food Purchasing

The 1950s saw a disruptive change in the way we purchase our food: until then, we relied on small local grocery stores, butchers and greengrocers, where the grocer or butcher fetched food items on request. Items could also be pre-ordered by phone and either collected from the store or delivered to the home, often by a boy on a bicycle. The key to the disruption was allowing customers direct access to the food stores with checkouts at the door. Thus was invented the modern supermarket, which sold all kinds of food, and the selection of food items passed directly into the hands of the customer with little or no intervention from the retailer. This inevitably led to a consolidation of the food retail industry and an almost total loss of the service aspect of the industry. The Future of Food Purchasing

The Future of Food Purchasing

Today, we are on the verge of a similarly disruptive change: Online ordering of almost everything has taken over from local retail outlets. Probably the most dramatic examples are in books and music – downloads are the rule and local purchase the exception. Food has been slower to follow, but we are on the edge of a massive change to online purchase, particularly of packaged and processed foods. Models developed by Amazon, originally for books, are being adapted for use with food items, by Amazon itself and by other players; and, as an example, the British company Ocado has developed a highly automated, completely online system for grocery retail and delivery in Andover in the UK (  It is ironic that this change will lead to the modern equivalent of the telephone order, followed by pick-up or delivery, that was commonplace in the 1950s.

Online shopping from supermarkets has been available for nearly 20 years, but initial uptake has been slow. It generally worked by having people employed as “shoppers” who put together the order – much as in the days of the local grocer – and the order could be delivered or picked up from a ‘pickup point’. This is now changing, using the robotic systems developed by Amazon and others (notably Ocado in the UK), whereby selections are put together and checked out in large, robotically operated warehouses, ready for delivery. It is likely that in urban areas an Uber-type grocery delivery system will develop quickly (one example, Instacart, is already in operation in parts of the US and Canada), and robot delivery, including delivery using drones, is already being trialed (for example by Amazon Prime Air). This model will not work as easily for some fresh foods because of variability in fresh foods and difficulties in labelling and in handling and protection, but this can be managed in other ways, and with the trend towards purchase of fresh foods at local markets, may be a separate consideration.

What will Online Purchasing Look Like?

Variants of online grocery shopping abound. Virtual supermarkets can be as simple as displays on the wall of a subway station with barcodes that can be read by a smartphone app (such displays have been present in South Korea for many years and can be found in some airports), through to full virtual reality supermarkets.

Virtual Reality (VR) enables users to feel like they are among the shop aisles without having to travel. VR-based supermarket and retail stores were considered by many as the logical successor to online shopping. Ecommerce and retail giants like Alibaba (e.g. Buy+), eBay and IKEA have trialed various VR options and a Tesco version has been demonstrated (  A few VR-based supermarkets have started operating in the last few years (e.g. a Tesco store in Berlin). However, the uptake of VR for shopping seems to have stagnated after the initial hype. Virtual shopping (based on QR code scans), checkout-less shop (e.g. Amazon Go) and on-demand grocery delivery (e.g. Instacart) seem to have supplanted VR.

Augmented reality (AR) blends the virtual and the real world and reconciles e-commerce with bricks & mortar stores. It facilitates the implementation of smart, interactive supermarkets, enabling the shoppers to see real-time information (product attributes, carbon footprint information, product reviews etc.) as they move around a store. Food shopping typically involves quick decision-making. An AR-based system can help someone shop according to their dietary requirements through rapid, accurate associations between food items and dietary recommendations.

There are AR-assisted smartphone apps for real-time, customized recommendations of healthy products, highlighting products to avoid, and identifying suitable alternative products, for various types of health concerns and general caloric intake. There are also operational supermarkets that use interactive tables and shelves to display augmented labels (nutritional value, presence of allergens, waste disposal instructions etc.) on screens suspended above when a customer inspects a product.

The Connected Kitchen

A smart kitchen (also known as a connected kitchen) aims to perform a variety of tasks, including ingredient recognition and grocery ordering. Based on inventory level and consumption, modules such as smart fridges can produce shopping lists and can even perform automated (online) orders (, and waste bins can scan labels and automatically re-order. This will have the effect of locking in purchasing patterns and brand preferences.

Purchasing of food is on the cusp of change and it is important that New Zealand food producers and manufacturers get on board – the value chain and the supply chain are changing!

For more about food and the digital age, please see:

Dr Mike Boland is a Principal Scientist at the Riddet Institute and was elected a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry in 2006 and a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology in 2014.


New consumer and sensory science facility on the way

Massey University’s Manawatū campus will soon have a state-of-the-art consumer and sensory science facility, to help determine what drives people in their food choice behaviour.

The $2.2 million facility for the Food Experience and Sensory Testing Laboratory, funded by Massey, will sit on the site of the old Ecology Building, alongside the Food Pilot and upcoming Food Science Facility.
College of Sciences Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Ray Geor says the investment continues to build on the strong food science capability at Massey and in the Manawatū.

“Food science has always been a major focus of the campus and we are continuing to ensure we have the best facilities in the world here for our researchers and for New Zealand companies. The timing of this latest investment is excellent as it coincides with the innovative new ideas, initiatives, and increased collaboration from Manawatū food organisations.”

The facility will increase the already strong food-science presnece in Palmerston North from the likes of FoodHQ, Fonterra, AgResearch and Plant and Food Research.

Professor Joanne Hort led the case for the facility as the Fonterra-Riddet chair in consumer and sensory science.
“We are on a journey to becoming a global leader in consumer and sensory science research, and this facility is a big part of allowing us to do that. It will enable the delivery of programmes at the cutting edge of consumer and sensory science research,” Professor Hort says. “Our research is consumer-focused, we seek to understand what people like in food, what influences their enjoyment. As well as understanding the sensory properties of food and beverages, like taste and smell, we can also evaluate perception and how packaging and labelling influences people’s decisions.

“We explore emotional response and contextual effects on food choice and individual variation in perception,” she says.

The facility will have immersive environments where consumers may experience foods in different settings and for different occasions. There will be the capacity to test with mixed and virtual reality and the traditional sensory booths and rooms for focus groups.
Fonterra’s director of research and development, Mark Piper, says that consumer-centric innovation is critical to the success of New Zealand’s value-added agenda to which Fonterra is committed.

“This world-class facility is an important part of the solution in delivering this and should be a cornerstone of Massey’s credentials as a leading food science university.”

Riddet Institute deputy director Professor Warren McNabb says the facility is highly-anticipated.

“The laboratory is very important to the future research direction of the Riddet Institute, one of New Zealand’s Centres of Research Excellence. To be able to link sensory perception to consumer decisions right through to the digestion of food is fundamental to the future of the food industry in New Zealand.”
Professor Hort’s research team, established last year, has been busy working on projects for Riddet, the FoodPilot and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise. These have involved establishing expert sensory evaluation panels and a consumer database of participants made up of members of the public who have so far been instrumental in researching dairy products, meats, and New Zealand-made gin.

Other projects include student-led work to examine the impact of context on how people respond to eating snack foods. It achieves this by comparing the experience of eating snack foods in a real and  a traditional sensory environment, with a mixed reality environment which provides a virtual experience of their surroundings via a HoloLens.

“Our new facilities will be an asset for consumer-centric food companies developing new foods for New Zealanders and export markets,” Professor Hort says.

“We’re growing our capabilities by the day with the cooperation of many organisations all committed to producing the best food. A big part of what we are doing is putting consumers at the centre of food product design ensuring foods are good for health, meet what’s wanted in international markets and, importantly, means people enjoy their food.”

Post originally appeared here.