The Inspire+ New Zealand Artisan Awards has given New Zealand food and beverage producers the opportunity to showcase product innovation. With over 480 entries this year, the competition was fierce in all categories.

“Producing premium quality products and not relying on being the cheapest in the market, provides an opportunity for growth both in FMCG and foodservice,” said head judge Tania Walters. Judged by a team of expert food writers, chefs and packaging design professionals; the entries were narrowed down to finalists, and now the winners have been chosen. Winners in each category triumphed over their competition in terms of innovation, fit for purpose, visual appeal, taste, price point, packaging and shelf life.

The team at Inspire+ New Zealand Artisan Awards are proud to provide a platform for emerging and established businesses to bring their products to be recognised, grow their business in foodservice and retail. Established by SupermarketNews and Restaurant & Café magazines, The New Zealand Artisan Awards were set up to support artisan producers and innovative products. The annual awards programme has a long history of success for participants who display exceptional creativity and potential.

Retailers, chefs, restaurateurs and foodservice providers are always looking for local suppliers who are providing inspiration and food solutions to an ever-curious and demanding consumer. 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 483 entries from which the judging panel selected 54 finalists. Now the waiting is over - the category winners have been announced, along with the supreme winner sharing one of the biggest prize pools available in any food awards, with a total value of over $50,000.

This year the supreme winner was a clear winner, with overwhelming top marks from all judges.  The story behind Go Wild is a truly New Zealand one the product provides innovation in the use of honey not only to consumers but also to the foodservice industry. Go Wild freeze-dried honey is light and crunchy freeze-dried honey with rich floral flavours. It gets its distinctive taste from the nectar of the endemic flowers and fauna of the Chatham Islands.

The judges felt that this year there was a continued focus on fresh product which showed the growth in this category reflecting consumer demand for fresh and local. Entries from companies that are over 100 years old to those just starting out on their brand journey, each brought their very best to the awards and those companies continue to show the world that New Zealand manufacturers are amongst the best for food innovation. Aside from the Supreme Award, there were seven category winners, each of which set the bar at the highest level in their category.

These Awards have a strong history of success for participants, who display exceptional creativity and potential – the past winners’ list reads as who’s who of New Zealand food producers. All finalists will be in 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 artisanal producers are often restricted to their local areas, the Inspire+ NZ Artisan Awards are designed to offer these businesses nationwide exposure. The 2019 entries included everything from honey, meatless meat, baby food, craft beers, fresh herbs, wonderful eggs, innovative gins and of course hemp, featured in a lot of the entries.  This year we welcomed a new category, General Merchandise, and this is a particular area of growth around sustainability and innovation. Foodservice and food retailing industries have plenty to be inspired by, and it is clear that the future of local food production is thriving.

Thanks to the sponsors of the 2019 Inspire+ NZ Artisan awards, in particular to 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 artisanal businesses in New Zealand.

Category Winners are listed below. Congratulations to all finalists, Category winners and the Supreme winner.