Ice cream, specialty cheese, honey, biscuits, seafood (including crayfish and paua), charcuterie and drinks such as kefir and A2 milk are among 300 locally grown and made products that were judged in the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards on Saturday 17 April.

The annual awards celebrate outstanding produce harvested, grown and made in Aotearoa and in this – the fifth year – are enjoying a 30% surge in entries. Organisers Kathie Bartley and Nicola McConnell believe producers want to set themselves apart to take advantage of increased consumer demand for locally made food and drink products.

They also noted a sharp increase in the number of new products – again a reflection of the past year with many producers taking time during lockdown in 2020 to develop new products.

Head judge Lauraine Jacobs

Thirty judges assessed the goods, including a specialist panel of three judges reviewing each entry for its sustainability. Judges from throughout New Zealand were led by food writer and champion of NZ food producers, Lauraine Jacobs.

She was joined by a team of experienced palates, including chefs; foodwriters; broadcasters; founder of Emerson’s brewery, Richard Emerson and FMCG Business editor, Tamara Rubanowski, to name a few.

Over the past four years the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards have assessed over 1000 products with 484 medals awarded, recognising producers whose dedication creates outstanding products and provides food lovers guarantee of a great product. Outstanding products are awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals. Gold Medal winners are assessed for the Champion and Special Awards.

Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners will be announced on Tuesday 18 May, with category and special award winners announced at the Champions Party 2021 on Tuesday 22 June in Auckland.

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