Zealand Food Awards Unveils the Crème de le Crème for 2017

New Zealand Food Awards Unveils the Crème de le Crème for 2017

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the awards which celebrate creative innovations from New Zealand’s artisanal and large-scale food and beverage manufacturers, with 22 products from 22 different companies taking out the top spots.

Spring Sheep Milk Co. took out the coveted and highest honour of the Massey University Supreme Award with its Vanilla Flavoured Probiotic Sheep Milk Powder, which also won them the NZTE Export Innovation Award.

Nick Hammond, Chief Operating Officer of Spring Sheep Milk Co, shared what winning the Massey University Supreme Award meant to them and their dedicated team.

“Receiving the Supreme Award is massive for us, we’re a really small company trying to do really big things,” Mr Hammond said.

“At Spring Sheep Milk Co, we’re trying to break new ground in product innovation and enter new markets, so I feel that this award is a real recognition of our whole team, and their passion for their work.”

Other companies recognised for their outstanding innovation and products, include Poppy and Olive in the BITE Gourmet Award category with its delicious Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Gathered Game taking out the Artisan Award for its Premium Wild Venison Salami and Deer Sticks, and Proper Crisps in the Dry Award category with its Kumara Chipotle and Garlic.

The revamped Food Safety Culture and Primary Sector Products Awards, sponsored by the Ministry for Primary Industries, were taken out by The Pure Food Co. and T&G Global Ltd. respectively. The James & Wells Business Innovation Award was presented to Original Foods Baking Co.

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas, said that the interest in the New Zealand Food Awards was exceptional, and the level of innovation from New Zealanders is something to be proud of.

“The finalists have set the bar high for this auspicious occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Food Awards. The entrants should be exceptionally proud of themselves and their world-class products,” Professor Thomas stated.

“As a small country, the level of innovation that we provide in terms of the food and beverage sector is incredible. We are committed to encouraging local business to continue to grow, experiment and create fantastic products, while recognising them for their efforts.”

For the third year in a row, the judging panel included food writer and cookbook author Nici Wickes, award-winning chef Geoff Scott and renowned chef and food writer Ray McVinnie, who sampled and sipped New Zealand’s finest food and beverages.

Mr Scott said the diversity in products this year was something to get excited about.

“We thought judging last year was hard, but the range of products presented to us this year has really made it difficult! We love to see the creativity and innovation in products from all corners of New Zealand.”

“What I love is we are starting to see some of our uniquely New Zealand ingredients coming through. Kumara being used in innovative ways, horopito, locally grown saffron, that sort of thing which I think is worth celebrating,” Ms Wickes said.

Joining the New Zealand Food Awards 2017 judging panel this year is the founder of Moa Brewing Company, Josh Scott, who is New Zealand’s first certified Cicerone (beer expert). Mr Scott was brought on board to judge the Countdown Alcoholic Beverage Category.

Mr Scott says craft beer’s popularity is going through the roof and he feels privileged to be a part of the judging panel. “While we’ve had a challenging season in terms of hop production, the craft beer culture is thriving in New Zealand,” he says. “I’d like us to reach a point where our reputation for producing top-notch real beers, is up there with our reputation for world-class wines.”

At the end of the night, there could only be one winner in the Alcoholic Beverage Category. The finalists included 12 entries from six different companies, and it was Epic Brewing Company’s Epic Hop Zombie IPA beer that took home the Countdown Alcoholic Beverage award.

Winning products are eligible to use the New Zealand Food Awards Quality Mark highlighting the superiority of the products to both consumers and industry, and helping to boost sales and distribution domestically and internationally.

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Award CategoryCompanyProductLocation
Artisan Food Producer Award in association with Supermarket News and Restaurant & Café Magazine
Artisan 1st PlaceGathered GamePremium Wild Venison Salami and Wild Venison Deer SticksOtago
Artisan 2nd PlaceCarrello del GelatoFeijoa Sorbet Wellington
Artisan 3rd PlaceHawke’s Bay Brewing CompanyOld Fashioned Ginger Beer, Spiced Ginger Beer, Ginger Fusion and Red SangriaNapier
Artisan Highly Commended
Abel New Zealand LtdAbel Methode Cider Nelson
Bakeworks LtdHome St. Sprouted Good Seed Bread Nelson
Dr Feelgood LtdHandmade Ice Pops Range Auckland
Maungatapere Berries LtdKwanza Fresh Raspberries Whangarei
Queen Anne Indulgence LtdDark Chocolate, Boysenberry Jelly Marshmallow BarChristchurch
The Caker Ltd Coconut Raspberry MixAuckland
Artisan Craft Beer Award in association with Supermarket News and CountdownThe Croucher Brewing CompanyCroucher LowriderRotorua
BITE Gourmet Award Poppy & Olive LtdChocolate Hazelnut ButterAuckland
Countdown Alcoholic Beverages AwardEpic Brewing CompanyEpic Hop Zombie IPAAuckland
Non-Alcoholic Beverages Award in association with Villa MariaBarker’s of GeraldineSqueezed Fruit Botanicals Syrup: Squeezed Lemons with Lime, Cucumber and MintCanterbury
Chilled/Short Shelf Life Award in association with Eagle ConsumablesCabernet Foods LtdEverton Dry Aged BeefWellington
Dry Award in association with Palmerston North City CouncilProper ChipsKumera, Chipotle & GarlicNelson
Frozen Award in association with FoodHQLeader ProductsJalapeño Cheese BitesAuckland
James & Wells Business Innovation AwardOriginal Foods Baking CoChristchurch
The FoodBowl Novel Food or Beverage AwardOtago LocustsLocustsOtago
Massey University Health and Wellness AwardSpringbrook FoodsNo Nut Butter – CrunchyBlenheim
MPI Food Safety Culture AwardT&G Global LtdLotatoes PotatoesAuckland
NZTE Export Innovation AwardSpring Sheep Milk CoAuckland
Massey University Supreme AwardSpring Sheep Milk CoAuckland