Outstanding Food Producer Awards reveal medal winners

Outstanding Food Producer Awards reveal medal winners

Over 250 New Zealand-made food and non-alcoholic drinks have been recognised for their quality, receiving medals in the 2024 Outstanding Food Producer Awards.

See the full list of medal winners here.

The medal tally was 137 Gold; 76 silver and 48 bronze from a remarkable 355 entries from 122 Kiwi food and drink producers, which were judged at Auckland’s Homeland restaurant last month.

The Awards Head Judge, Lauraine Jacobs who led 23 judges assessing the products said; “Medals are a morale boost for producers affirming their hard work, while they give consumers a guide to locally made products that they can purchase with confidence.”

“After eight years we’re seeing more new products entered each year and I believe producers have more imagination and show more innovation in presentation and taste as they develop new food ideas.”

A judging highlight was a dedicated Chocolate category, merging the NZ Chocolate Awards into the Outstanding Food Producer Awards. Lauraine was pleased to see the strength and complexity of the chocolate entries, which were tasted by experienced chocolate judges Elle Coco and Renny Aprea. Sixty chocolate products were assessed with 18 receiving Gold Medals, 13 being awarded Silver Medals and 11 collecting a Bronze Medal. New chocolatier, Ao Cacao was recognised with four Gold Medals, two Silver Medals and one Bronze Medal. Of the Gold-Medal-winning Ao Cacao 94% Tablet Bar Samoa Single origin chocolate the judges said: “Great temper and aroma which drew the judges in… excellent flavour which lingered with a silky mouthfeel.”

Lauraine observed that New Zealand is known for great honey but the range of distinct flavours, coupled with excellent texture in so many of the honey entries this year was notable and worthy of 10 Gold Medals. An additional seven Silver Medals and one Bronze Medal were awarded to locally produced honey. Of the Branch Creek Honey Raw Clover Blend Honey judges said: “It’s so smooth and shiny. We love the natural crystallisation and the viscosity and colour are gorgeous. An excellent honey.”

Likewise, Lauraine said the Paddock category entries, specifically beef and lamb in a variety of cuts, demonstrated that our farmers are paying painstaking attention to growing exceptional grasses that allow their animals to feed on exemplary diets. Tenderness, sweet flavours and deliciousness won 16 of the entries Gold Medals. Meat with Us won a gold medal for their Certified Organic Ribeye Beef farmed and produced at the Hukarere Station, West Otago. Judges described this Ribeye Beef as follows: “It’s got a delicate and elegant flavour with good chew and great mouthfeel.”

High-scoring Gold Medal winners are in contention for Category Champion Awards which will be announced at the annual Champions Party on Thursday 18 April 2024.

FMCG Business Head of Content, Tamara Rubanowski joined the judging panel again this year.

Judging panel

This year the judges included Peter Gordon (Homeland); James Wilkinson (Executive Chef, The Glasshouse); Kathy Paterson (Cookbook Author and food judge); Renny Aprea (Pastry Chef and international food judge); Tamara Rubanowski (FMCG Business Head of Content and  food judge); Elle Coco (international chocolate judge); Amanda Thompson (Moore Wilson’s, General Manager); Mat Mclean (Palate Restaurant, Chef/Owner); Connie Clarkson (experienced food judge); Geoff Scott (food judge and AUT Culinary Lecturer); Ginny Grant (food writer and judge); Lucy Owen (Farro, Deli Category Manager)  John Kelleher (AUT Culinary Lecturer); Vicky Tasker (Farro, Content Editor); Johnathon Robertson (Farro, Merchandise Manager) Lorna Riley (Coast presenter and experienced food judge); Ness Baxter (experienced food judge); Paul Jobin (Consultant Chef); Alice Taylor (food writer and MasterChef NZ finalist); Matt Casey (Source Kitchen, Chef/co-owner); Emma Boyd (NZ Life & Leisure food writer); Kelly Gibney (food writer and author); Kate Underwood (food writer) and Sustainability Judges; Emily King (Director of Spira, author and food systems expert) and Fiona Stephenson (Sustainable Business Network).

Awards co-owners Kathie Bartley and Nicola McConnell noted that excitingly, the 2024 Awards welcome new partners: Leefield Station and BYD Auto New Zealand. They join the prestigious list of supporters including NZ Life & Leisure, Coast, Emerson’s, Farro, FMCG Business, Label & Litho and Seafood New Zealand.

About the Outstanding Food Producer AwardsThe Outstanding Food Producer Awards celebrate the best of New Zealand’s food and drink producers, recognising excellence and innovation in food and non-alcoholic drinks. Launched in 2018, the Awards have become a prestigious platform for showcasing the diverse and exceptional offerings of Kiwi food and drink producers to food lovers. Over three million Outstanding Food Producer Award medal stickers are affixed to top products annually, providing consumers with assurance to purchase quality, local products assessed by industry experts.

Scroll to Top