Started in 1997, the Ice Cream Awards has the specific objective of raising standards and promoting the quality of New Zealand Ice Cream. The 21st awards will be judged in Auckland at The Foodbowl from the beginning of May, with the Gala Awards Dinner being held on 26th May, which is also the 90th celebration of the New Zealand Ice Cream manufacturers’ association itself.

This year, a new Non-dairy category has been introduced for products considered as dairy free alternatives and there is also separate categories for low fat, Gelato and Sorbet, which brings the total categories to 12. Michele Sinclair is the Chief Judge and will be assisted by Kay McMath and a team of judges. The “Best of…” category was introduced five years ago and the first flavor to feature was the iconic Hokey Pokey. This time, they have chosen to showcase the “Best of Coffee.”

In 2012 a “New to Market” category was introduced which is presented to the highest total score, as judged in the appropriate category, for a new product launched in the last 12 months. Last year, there were 74 entries eligible for this award, which shows the depth of innovation in the ice cream industry. There is also a “Supreme Award” for both large and boutique manufacturers to recognize the growth of boutique ice cream and gelato manufacturers.