Entries now open for 2024 New Zealand Food Awards

Entries now open for 2024 New Zealand Food Awards

Aotearoa New Zealand’s food and beverage producers, large or small, it’s your time to shine by entering your product or business into the New Zealand Food Awards.

For more than 35 years the New Zealand Food Awards, owned and operated by Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University, have enabled food and beverage producers to showcase their latest and greatest technical innovations.

Designed to celebrate all players in the industry ranging from FMCG, artisan and primary food producers to ingredient supply companies and everything in between, there’s a place and category for all businesses to be involved. Award organisers are encouraging producers to enter now and share their stories, including the technical challenges overcome in their product development.

Professor Ray Geor

Chair of the New Zealand Food Awards Governance Board and Massey University Pro Vice Chancellor College of Sciences Professor Ray Geor says the awards play an integral role in the industry by providing a platform for national food and beverage producers to showcase their innovation and consumer-added value.

“The food and beverage sector in New Zealand and globally is ever-evolving; reflecting changing consumer preferences, improving human health, and responding to societal impacts such as climate change and shifting food security.

“It’s now more important than ever to demonstrate to both consumers and the wider industry, the benefits and distinctive attributes of foods produced in New Zealand. The awards are a robust platform that champions the products and businesses that continue to strive for excellence and innovation, highlighting to the world the best of New Zealand’s food and beverage sector.

“The New Zealand Food Awards prides itself on the strong process, which is represented by the high calibre of winners and finalists, as well as the powerful partner network that supports the awards.

Massey’s long-standing expertise in food science and product development makes us the natural choice to support the awards. Like the sector, the university and the awards continually evolve to ensure excellence and innovation are at the forefront of everything we do. The improvements to the 2024 awards programme reflect Massey’s ongoing commitment to supporting food producers.”

Categories and judging

There are 10 categories this year, with entries judged across two award areas: Product Awards and Business Awards. Each category has set criteria and only entrants exhibiting the highest levels of the New Zealand Food Awards’ core values of innovation, excellence, and sustainability will progress to being named a finalist, and have the opportunity to become a category winner and ultimate supreme winner. Entrants have the opportunity to enter one product in up to three Product Award categories.

An exciting update amongst the categories this year includes a name and criteria change to the former novel category, which is now the technical innovation category. Sponsored by The New Zealand Food Innovation Network (NZFIN), the change illustrates the unique qualities this category embodies.

Alasdair Baxter, Business Development Manager, NZFIN, says they are thrilled to once again support this category, and how its criteria aligns with their passion and core business of encouraging true innovation in food and beverage.

“Changing the category name from novel to technical innovation is a great way to ensure companies that have overcome technical challenges in their product development are celebrated. We’re looking forward to seeing the innovative food and beverage products that will be entered into the category this year.”

Further changes to the judging process sees an improved sustainability criteria designed to consider environmental, social and business sustainability measures. Based on pillars of technical capability, consumer acceptability, regulatory compliance and food quality and safety, entries are required to meet their category criteria, baseline scoring for each judging phase and undertake thorough compliance checks to progress. This ensures consumers can be confident that the product or business wearing the New Zealand Food Awards Quality Mark is manufactured in New Zealand, compliant with all regulations, technically innovative, tastes great and meets consumer expectations.

The Massey University Supreme Winner, announced at the gala dinner at the Viaduct Event Centre in Auckland on 10 October, is selected from the winners of each of the individual category awards excluding the Product Lifetime Achievement Award.

The New Zealand Food Awards proudly appoints a panel of over 25 of New Zealand’s leading food and beverage experts as judges. The judges represent a diverse cross-section of industry disciplines, including technical judges, sustainability and commercial specialists, scientific experts, regulatory guides and more.

Backed by industry

Massey University’s ownership stems from the role it plays at the forefront of food-related education and research in Aotearoa New Zealand and globally. Massey University is the home of food technology in New Zealand and host to the largest collection of pilot-scale food processing plant and equipment in the southern hemisphere. Massey takes pride in offering support and expertise to many of the award finalists and winners in the development of their products.

The awards programme is made possible with the support of a network of valued partners – Woolworths, Cuisine Magazine, New Zealand Food Safety, New Zealand Food Innovation Network, Palmerston North City Council, AsureQuality, FoodHQ, FMCG Business, The New Zealand Institute of Food Science & Technology Inc., and our newest partners, Urban Gourmet and the New Zealand Vegetarian Society (NZVS).

Amanda Salmond, Merchandise Manager, Woolworths New Zealand, says they are proud to have been a strategic sponsor of the New Zealand Food Awards for many years.

“We deeply value our supplier relationships, without skilled and innovative supplier partners we would not be able to bring our customers the product quality and New Product Development [NPD] they deserve. The awards recognise the expertise, skill and innovation we see in our New Zealand supply base and highlight emerging businesses who will drive the future of NPD.”

New partners Urban Gourmet are proud to align with the renowned awards programme. Andrew Methven, General Manager, Urban Gourmet, is excited to be a part of showcasing wonderful New Zealand companies who are at the cutting edge of innovation, and sustainability.

“Honouring the standard of excellence through which these producers are recognised, aligns with Urban Gourmets’ principles of maanakitanga, proven with over 20 years of striving for innovative excellence.”

Ina Babic, Marketing and Communications Manager, New Zealand Vegetarian Society, says the partnership helps promote sustainability and celebrates vegetarian and vegan options within the wider food industry.

“This sponsorship provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the benefits of the NZVS Vegan Certified and Vegetarian Approved product certification, which offers clarity for consumers to make informed choices for their health, animal welfare, and the environment.”

2024 Categories

Product Awards

Artisan – Sponsored by Cuisine

Below Zero – Sponsored by FoodHQ


Chilled – Sponsored by Woolworths

Health and Wellbeing – Palmerston North City Council

Pantry – Sponsored by Woolworths

Primary Sector – Sponsored by New Zealand Food Safety

Product Lifetime Achievement – Sponsored by AsureQuality

Technical Innovation (Formerly Novel) – Sponsored by New Zealand Food Innovation Network

Business Awards

Business Innovation

Key dates

1 May – Entries open

31 May – Entries close

24 – 28 June – Judging week

2 September – Finalists announced

10 October – Gala dinner and winners announced, Viaduct Event Centre, Auckland, 7pm – 11.30pm

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

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