Supermarkets, restaurants and foodservice providers are always on the lookout for the latest trend or innovation and the Inspire+ NZ Artisan Awards provide suppliers with the opportunity to be recognised, to grow their business and get in front of both the retail and foodservice markets. The Awards celebrate the best that New Zealand’s artisan producers have to offer, and this year there were an outstanding 397 entries from which the judging panel selected 67 cutting-edge finalists. The waiting is over and the category winners have been announced, sharing one of the biggest prize pools yet, with a total value of over $50,000.
This year the judges; made up of food writers, chefs and packaging design experts, felt that the focus on fresh product showed that this category is responding particularly well to the demands of consumers for healthy convenience. Aside from the Supreme Award, there are seven category winners, each of which set the bar at the highest level in their category. The judges noted the difficulty in choosing the Supreme Award winner, but Natural Abundance took out the top prize with their Almond, Flax and Kumara Paleo Crackers. “This product was outstanding packed with flavour and an excellent fit for consumer demand for healthy, nutritious and convenient,” said Tania Walters, head judge and publisher of SupermarketNews magazine.
The Artisan Awards were created by SupermarketNews and Restaurant & Café Magazine to inspire and discover small businesses. These Awards have a strong history of success for participants, who often display exceptional creativity and potential – the past winner’s list reads as who’s who of New Zealand food producers. All finalists will be featured in the sponsoring magazines’ digital and print content over the coming months.
All finalists and category winners will be able to display the Inspire+ logo on their products, which provides recognition of product excellence for both consumers, retailers and restaurateurs. These are badges of excellence, a testament to the hard work and high quality the judges have seen and recognition of quality, innovation, consumer appeal, and taste.
Although artisan producers are often restricted to their local areas, the Inspire+ NZ Artisan Awards are designed to offer smaller businesses nationwide exposure. The 2018 entries included everything from honey-roasted crickets to wild sauerkraut and Egyptian-style beer – the foodservice and food retailing industries have plenty to be inspired by, and it is clear that the future of local food production is in exceptional hands.
Thanks to the sponsors of the 2018 Inspire+ NZ Artisan awards. Thanks in particular to New World, the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council, the New Zealand Chefs Association, and the New Zealand Restaurant Association for their support of artisan food and drink, and to SupermarketNews and Restaurant & Café magazine for their ongoing dedication to small businesses.
Finalists and Winners are listed below. Congratulations to all finalists and the Category winners and the Supreme winner.
Frozen Organic Smoothie Cubes
Paleo Seed and Paleo Rustic Bread
Peanut, Cashew, and Macadamia Brittles
Texas BBQ Foods
Smoked Beef Brisket & Smoked Pork Belly
Kererū Brewing Company
Holy Cow! Strong Red Egyptian Ale
New World PitchMe Special Award Winner
Stracchino Double Pack
Supreme Award Winner
Almond, Flax, and Kumara Paleo Crackers