Fix & Fogg Lucky Dip butter

From baking to business models – nominations for the NZ Food Heroes Award are flooding in. Diverse in nature, the entries all reflect the Kiwi brand of innovation and community spirit that has flourished during the COVID-19 crisis ensuring New Zealand has access to fresh, local produce.

So tell us, who’s your hero?

Olliff Farm hens

Thousands of free-range chooks have been able to keep on laying rather than getting laid off due to lockdown. It’s just one of the heart-warming stories shared in the ‘NZ Food Heroes’ campaign.

Nominee Olliff Farm north of Auckland faced a dilemma. With 95% of their pasture eggs supplying high-end Auckland restaurants and cafés in normal times, lockdown restrictions presented a complete loss of business income. Their 3500 feathered ‘employees’ needed to be fed as they continued to lay eggs daily, so the company (a 2019 New Zealand Food Awards finalist) had no time to waste in finding alternative outlets for their eggs. They flipped their business model and launched the “SAVE OUR GIRLS” mission to protect their hens and to help feed Kiwis during lockdown by delivering directly to customers or selling from their farm store in Silverdale.

Since the campaign kicked off three weeks ago, there have been over 270 nominations celebrating people and businesses across New Zealand. Organisers are urging more people to nominate their food heroes. The campaign was launched by the New Zealand Food Awards in place of their usual programme as a way for Kiwis to show their appreciation and support for the numerous Heroes across all sectors of the food and beverage industry who have kept our hunger at bay.

Among the latest nominees is peanut butter makers, Fix & Fogg, who created a special ‘Lucky Dip’ butter. The mixed nut butter made from end of production runs, not only prevents food waste and uses returned or reused Fix & Fogg jars, it also provides for those in need. Their ‘Lucky Dip’ butters can’t be purchased, but are instead donated to Women’s Refuge, City Missions and other charities around New Zealand. Wellington-based Roman Jewell, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, and Thom Brooks, Chief Operations Officer, have also worked tirelessly to make sure their staff and those they support were well looked after during lockdown.

Nominee Jackie Lee Morrison, British pastry chef and owner of artisan sweet treat company Lashings, coordinated the Pandemic Pack in Wellington. Jackie formed a group of 15 local eateries impacted by COVID-19 to create a cookery book with recipes from each establishment which was sold to the public as a ‘pay-what-you-can’ deal. At alert level 3 she began a food delivery service where people could order meals from the Pandemic Pack in one place. This helped each food establishment to earn over $1000 to help with the extra expenses over the lockdown.

Jackie Lee Morrison

Jackie has been described as “a fantastic and innovative business woman who always puts her community first. She is a leader and a wonderful human being. She is an absolute asset to our industry and community.”

And KiwiHarvest worked with NZ Pork and the Ministry for Primary Industries during lockdown to, literally, save our bacon. KiwiHarvest collects surplus food from supermarkets, wholesalers, producers, cafés, restaurants and hotels before it goes to waste to give to those in need, so when COVID-19 restrictions resulted in excess pork, they delivered the pork to New Zealand’s food banks.

A worker from KiwiHarvest helping with re-distribution of food.

Still time to nominate your food hero

Massey University’s National Events and Sponsorship Manager, Kelly Douglas, is encouraging more Kiwis from across New Zealand to get involved and share who they would like to celebrate.

“The New Zealand Food Awards, Massey University and our partner network have been amazed by the efforts of our community to help Kiwis and businesses survive this challenging time and we believe they deserve recognition.

“We’ve had a great response so far, but we reckon there are plenty more heroes NZ would like to thank. So tell us who they are. We’ll be giving a bit of love back to the New Zealand food heroes you nominate.”

Nominations are open until 31st July 2020 for people or organisations that have supported the New Zealand food and beverage supply chain in some way. The finalists will be announced 31st August, with a celebration and winner’s announcement on the October 8th 2020.

Nominate your food hero online at www.foodawards.co.nz/heroes by telling us who they are and why they are your hero. People are encouraged to shout out to them on social media using #NZFoodHeroes and #NZFoodAwards so that the New Zealand Food Awards can help the rest of Aotearoa celebrate them too.

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Facebook: @NewZealandFoodAwards

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