With revamped categories, a new judging process and a team of judges, entries for the 2021 New Zealand Food Awards are all set to open on May 1.

The awards programme is returning to its roots after a disrupted 2020 with a few fresh concepts for entrants.

Powered by Massey University, the awards are open to small and large food and beverage manufacturers, primary food producers, food service providers, and ingredient supply companies. This year, the awards have expanded to build on last year’s ‘Food Hero’ theme – developed during lockdown to celebrate the way Kiwi companies responded and reacted to the global pandemic.

Entrants have the opportunity to put forward their products to an expert judging panel, receive feedback, and benchmark themselves against industry peers, providing valuable insights for future development and approaches. The award categories provide many opportunities for manufacturers to showcase different products aimed at national and international markets.

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas is thrilled to see the awards’ emphasis on innovation, sustainability, and excellence.

“These three pillars are at the centre of everything we do at Massey, so it’s great to see the awards align so well with the very institute behind it all. All businesses should strive for excellence, embrace innovation, and now more than ever, be more sustainable in all that they do.

“Massey is excited to again tell the stories behind New Zealand’s exceptional food and beverage producers. We are proud to be part of a partner network that educates and supports producers, empowering them to represent the best of Aotearoa in food and beverage product innovation globally. I look forward to seeing what products and companies put themselves out there this year.”

There are 12 categories this year, with products and business judged across three areas:

  • Product awards
  • Business awards
  • Community awards

Each category has set criteria and only entrants exhibiting the highest levels of the awards’ core characteristics will rise to the standard of finalist, winner and supreme winner.

2021 Categories

Product Awards

Beverage – Sponsored by the Food Innovation Network

Artisan – Sponsored by Cuisine

Chilled  – Sponsored by Food HQ

Below Zero

Pantry – Sponsored by Countdown

Primary Sector – Sponsored by New Zealand Food Safety

Health and Wellbeing – Sponsored by Countdown


Product Lifetime Achievement Award – Sponsored by AsureQuality

Business Awards

Business Innovation

Food Safety Culture – Sponsored by New Zealand Food Safety

Community Awards

Food Hero – Sponsored by Palmerston North City Council

Key dates:

1 May – Entries open

31 May – Entries close

5-9 July – Judging week

18 August – Finalists announced

18-31 August – People’s Choice voting open

14 October – Gala dinner and winners announced – location yet to be confirmed

For more information, visit www.foodawards.co.nz