From a salmon farmer to urban bakeries, charitable organisations to individuals, New Zealand Food Heroes Award 2020 finalists have proved to be nimble, smart and kind in diverse ways.

Finalists include organisations large and small who ‘pivoted’ to provided meals and food parcels to the vulnerable, isolated or needy in urban and rural communities, as well as other food-related services to lift spirits during these challenging times.

Massey University’s National Events and Sponsorship Manager, Kelly Douglas, says the range of food heroes is heart-warming.

“The campaign has brought to light a myriad of ways the food sector adapted to the challenges and uncertainties of living during a global pandemic. Kiwis can be proud of Aotearoa’s food and beverage community and the efforts they have made for our team of five million,” she says.

“The New Zealand Food Awards, Massey University and our partner network are proud to congratulate all the finalists and we acknowledge the efforts of all of our food heroes who were nominated.”

Kai packs for the elderly; a lemonade producer who switched to making hand sanitizer, a top restaurant that donated meals to hospice patients; a woman who provided food packs to struggling farmers, and numerous companies who adapted to online food shopping and delivery are just a few.

Finalists for six categories have been selected from more than 340 nominees sent in by people and businesses from all over Aotearoa. The full list can be found here.

The campaign was launched by the New Zealand Food Awards, in place of their usual programme as a way for Kiwis to show their appreciation and support for the numerous ‘heroes’ across all sectors of the food and beverage industry.

Categories include: Innovators; Outstanding Service; Local Hero; Greater Good; Industry Supporter and The Dream Team. Several nominees have been named finalists in more than one category.

In addition to the six categories, organisers are excited to announce their seventh category: The People’s Choice.

Open from 1 – 14 September, New Zealanders will be able to vote for the finalist they feel deserves to win a New Zealand Food Heroes Award. You can vote online at:

Winners will be announced on October 8 at the annual gala dinner, lockdown levels permitting.