2023 NZ Food Awards finalists revealed

2023 NZ Food Awards finalists revealed

After inviting the country’s food and beverage sector to submit their new and innovative products to be part of the New Zealand Food Awards, the 2023 finalists are now ready to be revealed and celebrated. After robust and thorough judging, three distinct themes were highlighted by this years’ New Zealand Food Awards finalists – plant-based proteins, functional foods and sustainability.

There were 396 entries from 124 companies this year, resulting in 61 outstanding finalists from across the length and breadth of the motu. This year’s finalists include some big players in the Aotearoa food and beverage industry, such as Anchor, Kāpiti, The Collective, Wattie’s and Farrah’s, as well as plenty of new players to the market showcasing innovation at its finest. Previous winners featuring with new products this year include The Pure Food Co, The Wild Fermentary, Beard Brothers and allmite gold.

Head Judge Kay McMath commended the entrants on the extremely high quality of submissions and how they were able to articulate innovation, sustainability and excellence through their product or business.

“The judges really enjoyed hearing the challenges producers faced, how they employed clever technologies to solve these issues and the journey producers have taken from concept to market.”

She noted the increase in entries across the categories, in particular the Primary Sector category.

“It’s exciting to see how companies are adding value to primary produce. They’re shifting and adding value. It’s a vital component of the food and beverage sector.

“The concept of paddock to plate, organically certified, catch to order, for example, demonstrates real commitment to ensuring New Zealand is producing the freshest, highest quality food in sustainable ways,” Ms McMath says.

It’s been a few years since a live product was a finalist at the New Zealand Food Awards but both Tora Collective’s products, Live Crayfish and Live Blackfoot Pāua (Abalone) have been named a finalist in the Primary Sector category. The company’s ‘catch to order’ model ensures sustainable fishing practices are adhered to as mother nature dictates when products can be harvested. It also allows for the raw products to be received in their most pure form. A trait that is quite rare these days!

Storytelling was used to narrate many journeys from concept to product. Hinterland Food, one of New Zealand’s few organically certified mānuka honey producers, have been named a finalist for their product, Organic 20+ UMF Mānuka (known as ‘liquid gold’) in both the Artisan and Novel categories. The commitment demonstrated by Hinterland Food for producing a premium product that is distinctly unique to Aotearoa is carefully and sustainably packaged in glass jars with the precious gift of a ‘whakatauāki’ (Māori proverb) on each jar to connect back to the whenua.

The New Zealand Food Awards have celebrated Aotearoa New Zealand’s food and beverage manufacturers, focusing on innovation, sustainability and excellence, since 1987. Owned and operated by Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University, the awards are open to small and large food and beverage manufacturers, primary food producers, food service providers, and ingredient supply companies.

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says from food science and product development to nutrition and dietetics, as well as farming and horticulture, Massey’s name is synonymous with Aotearoa New Zealand’s innovative food sector.

“Our ownership of the awards, which have been running for more than three decades, stems from the role the university plays at the forefront of food-related education and research here and around the world. It reflects our commitment to promoting innovation in the food industry and supporting the growth and development of this important sector of New Zealand’s economy.

“I’m once again very impressed with the standard of entries this year. It was great to see a true representation of the industry in this year’s entrants, which included large-scale producers as well as small artisanal creators. To have Massey Food Technology graduates enter products into the awards is a highlight, especially when they are named as a finalist. I’m excited to see which product or business will take out the Massey University Supreme Award at the gala dinner in October.”

Today, the New Zealand Food Awards also announce the finalists for the Product Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by AsureQuality. The award, which was introduced in 2019, celebrates Kiwi products that have withstood the test of time. The 2023 finalists are: Edmonds ‘Edmonds Baking Powder’, Galaxy ‘Blue Vein Cheese’ and Wattie’s ‘Tomato Sauce’.

The 10 category winners and overall Massey University Supreme Award winner will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on 19 October, with guests enjoying a three-course meal, drinks and entertainment.

Finalist and winning products earn the New Zealand Food Award’s quality mark to highlight their technical capability, consumer acceptability, regulatory compliance, and food quality and safety to shoppers and industry following one of the most robust judging processes in the industry.

The awards programme is made possible with the support of Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University, Countdown, Cuisine, FMCG Business, Palmerston North City Council, BNZ, New Zealand Food Safety, FoodHQ, New Zealand Food Innovation Network, AsureQuality, The New Zealand Institute of Food Science & Technology Inc., XPO Exhibitions and Villa Maria.

The finalists are:

Product Awards

Artisan Award – Sponsored by Cuisine (10)

allmite gold – allmite gold mild chilli

Augustines of Central – Blackcurrants in Cassis


Dona Lou’s Goan Cuisine – Prawn Balchão

Hinterland Food – Certified Organic UMF 20+ Mānuka Honey

Kāpiti – Bridge Street Blue

Mixed Roots – “Hot Stuff” Curry Oil

Robbies by Mrs Pickles – Honey Sloe Gin Pickled Onions 1kg

Royalburn – Fine Lamb

Spice Tree – Chermoula

Below Zero Award – Sponsored by FoodHQ (7)

Beard Brothers – Beard Brothers Old School Beef Sausage Rolls

Beard Brothers – Beard Brothers Old School Pork Sausage Rolls

EatKinda – EatKinda Strawberry Swirl

Island Gelato Co. – Chocolate & Forest Berry Cake

Naked Nectar – Smoothie Wheel – Morning After

The Pure Food Co – Tiramisu

Wild Nation – Vegetable Bites – Smashed Pea and Mint

Beverage Award – Sponsored by Massey University (6)

AF Drinks – Sparkling Rosé

AVATAR – Mānuka Honey Elixir – Lemon & Mixed Berry Flavoured

Buzz Club – Session Mead – Kāmahi Blossom + Lemon

Future – Future Natural Energy Citrus

Pete’s Natural Sodas – Fresh Hop Lemonade

The Wild Fermentary – Bloody Mary Mix

Chilled Award – Sponsored by Countdown (6)

Anchor – Anchor Probiotic+ Mango & Apricot Greek Yoghurt

East West Kitchen – Indian Butter Chicken

East West Kitchen – Massaman Beef Curry

Kāpiti – Succulent Summer Plum Yoghurt

Little Island – Berries Yoghurt 800g

The Collective – Suckies Dairy Free Strawberry

Health and Wellbeing Award – Sponsored by Palmerston North City Council (4)

Anchor – Anchor Probiotic+ Mango & Apricot Greek Yoghurt

Farrah’s – Low Carb Keto Wraps

Lucy’s Gluten Free – The White One

The Pure Food Co – Tiramisu

Novel Award – Sponsored by New Zealand Food Innovation Network (4)

EatKinda – EatKinda Mint Choc Bikkie

Grater Goods – Carrot Lox

Hinterland Food – Certified Organic UMF 20+ Mānuka Honey

Zamati – High Performance Beef Protein – Plain – Reduced fat

Pantry Award – Sponsored by Countdown (8)

Ceres Organics – Ceres Organics Pea Chips Salt & Vinegar

Culley’s Kitchen – Savoury Onion Dip

Farrah’s – Low Carb Keto Wraps

Gluten Freedom – Everything Sourdough Bagels

Heilala Vanilla – Alcohol Free Vanilla Paste

NORISH – Blooming Blueberry & Chia Pudding

Stripped Jerky – Sumo Cowboy

TOP Hemp – PATA – Garlic

Primary Sector Award – Sponsored by New Zealand Food Safety (8)

Big Glory Bay – Fresh King Salmon Portions

Royalburn – Autumn Venison Sausage

Royalburn – Fine Lamb

Royalburn – Lamb Farm Sausage

The Collective – Splitz Bickies & Cream

The Collective – Straight Up Sour Cream

Tora Collective – Live Blackfoot Pāua (Abalone)

Tora Collective – Live Crayfish

Product Lifetime Achievement Award – Sponsored by AsureQuality (3)

Edmonds – Baking Powder

Galaxy – Blue Vein Cheese

Wattie’s – Tomato Sauce

Business Awards

Business Innovation Award – Sponsored by BNZ (5)

Epic Coffee


Heilala Vanilla

Rescued Kitchen

Royalburn Station

Gala Dinner event details

Thursday, 19 October 2023

Aotea Centre, 50 Mayoral Drive, Auckland

6.30pm – 11pm

Tickets on sale here:

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

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