Countdown has announced its annual supplier awards this week which celebrate excellence across the New Zealand food and grocery industry.

New to the awards this year is the introduction of a Sustainability Award, recognising the growing importance of this issue with Kiwis.  Countdown is targeting a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 versus its 2015 levels, and is also undertaking significant work to reduce plastic and packaging across its business.  Supporting suppliers’ own efforts to also improve their products and provide more sustainable choices for customers felt like a natural fit.

The annual awards are also a chance for suppliers to get together with Countdown’s executive and buying teams, recognise the best in the industry and learn about upcoming initiatives.

Scott Davidson, Countdown’s general manager merchandise, said this year’s awards were another huge success and a great opportunity to meet with suppliers in a less formal environment and celebrate with the winners.

“It’s so important to take a moment out of the busy retail environment to talk with our supplier partners and also to reward the incredible passion, hard work and excellence that happens every day in our industry," said Davidson.

“Providing Kiwis with more sustainable products and packaging is something we’re really passionate about at Countdown.  We are really excited to see lots of our suppliers really innovating in this space. We’ve already seen some great examples across the industry, but for us T&G Global’s Growing Green programme stood out because of their two innovations; moving away from plastic containers to paper and commissioning of the country’s first large-scale, waste-to-energy plant, a purpose-built facility that will take food waste from the region (and from T&G’s tomato vines) and turn it into renewable biogas energy, which can then be used to enhance growth in their glasshouses and power up the region."

Countdown's Supreme Award winner, Unilever also stood out for being a benchmark supplier in innovation. According to Davidson they are highly collaborative and have a strong focus on sustainability and consumer trends. Its customer led approach has helped Countdown deliver some outstanding results not only in the categories they play in but across the total freezer segment.

"We thank all of our suppliers for another great year."

The complete list of Supplier Award winners is below: 

Supreme Winner of the Year: Unilever NZ Ltd

Produce Supplier of the Year: Boyds Asparagus

Sustainability Award:  Turners & Growers Global's Sustainability Programme 'Growing Green'

Integrated Supplier Planner of the Year: James Monaghan - Coca Cola Amatil

Own Brand Supplier of the Year: Fruit and Concentrates International (FCI)

Fresh Meat & Seafood Supplier of the Year: SunPork Fresh Foods

Perishables & Delicatessen Supplier of the Year: Unilever NZ Ltd

Bakery Supplier of the Year: George Weston Foods (GWF)

Grocery - Cooking, Baking, Breakfast & Health:  Nestle NZ Ltd

Grocery - Beverages & Snacking: Bluebird Foods Ltd

Grocery - Non Food of the Year: Unilever NZ Ltd

General Merchandise & Pharmacy: Vitaco Health NZ Ltd 

Liquor Supplier of the Year: Asahi Beverages

New Product Development of the Year: Unilever NZ Ltd - Vegan Magnum Ice Cream

Account Manager of the Year 2019:  Andrew Johnston - Coca Cola Amatil


Photo caption: Nick Bangs from Unilever NZ Ltd

Second photo caption (from left to right): Natalie Davis from MD Woolworths NZ, Nick Bangs from Unilever NZ Ltd, Josh Rich from Unilever NZ Ltd, Dheeraj Sharma from Unilever NZ Ltd, Isabelle Kaa from Unilever NZ Ltd, and Scott Davidson Countdown General Manager Merchandise.