Traditional treatment nets supreme award for Sealord smoked salmon

NZ Food Awards 2014: From left to right: Steve Maharey, Matt Mays, Melissa Semmens, Joel Bourke, Gavin Kouwenhoven, and Tim Groser.

NZ Food Awards 2014: From left to right: Steve Maharey, Matt Mays, Melissa Semmens, Joel Bourke, Gavin Kouwenhoven, and Tim Groser.

Sealord Group’s Hot Manuka Smoked Salmon received a resounding thumbs up from both the professional panel of judges and the consumer judging panel at this year’s New Zealand Food Awards.

The 2014 Supreme Award winner is smoked in West Auckland the traditional way, over manuka wood.

Judge Ray McVinnie says the winners he liked most this year were steeped in tradition, but with a modern twist.

“I was very impressed with the way the best things seem to set the trends, not follow them,” Mr McVinnie says. “My favourite was a very contemporary product that referenced a very traditional one. The best food products always have some connection to tradition – people who are completely familiar with the rules before they break them often seem to make the best food — food that isn’t reliant on additives, or being part of a superficial food fad.”

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says the calibre of entrants this year was very high. The university, New Zealand’s leading food science innovation, teaching and research institution, hosts the annual awards in Auckland, and has been involved since their inception in 1987, taking over stewardship of the awards in 1998.

“Each of the winners in this year’s New Zealand Food Awards has taken a thoughtful approach with their winning products,” Mr Maharey says. “They reflect New Zealand’s innovative nature, and the ability to add value to our fantastic primary products. It’s no wonder New Zealand is seen internationally as world leaders in food innovation, safety and quality.”

In the battle of the Islands, awards were evenly split between the North and South Islands. Auckland-based companies just nudged out Christchurch with the highest number of winners, with five companies represented – Durello Traditional Brazillian Foods, Lion Dairy & Drinks, Pure Delish, Genevieve’s and Tommy & James. Christchurch’s A.Verkerk Limited, Original Foods and J. Friend and Co keeping the Garden City flag flying.

The Tasman Bay/Nelson region also stepped into the limelight this year, with Chia Limited and Tasman Bay Food Group both winning their respective categories. Sealord Group boasts offices in Auckland and Nelson, and could arguably be representing both regions. Wins by Wellington-based Bohemein Ltd and Dunedin-headquartered Alpine Origin Merino Ltd managed to keep the main centres represented.

The full list of winners is as follows:

2014 NZ Food Awards Winners

Massey University Supreme Award
Sealord Group Ltd – Sealord Hot Manuka Smoked Salmon (in Tuscan Herb or Peri Peri)

Small Manufacturers
Durello Traditional Brazillian Foods – Chicken Delights/Coxinhas

The NZ Herald BITE Gourmet AwardJ. Friend & Co. – Panforte
J. Friend & Co. – Panforte

FoodHQ Indulgent Award
Bohemein Ltd – Black Devil Caramel

Special Awards
Massey University Healthy
Chia Ltd – Chia Drink

The FOODBOWL Novel Ingredients
Tommy & James Limited – Nice Cream

AsureQuality Food Safety and Quality
Genevieve’s – Genevieve’s Seafood Mousse

KPMG Export Innovation
Alpine Origin Merino Ltd – SILERE Alpine Origin Merino – Oyster Shoulder

Rabobank Business Innovation
Original Foods NZ Ltd

Large Manufacturers
Villa Maria Beverages
Lion Dairy & Drinks (NZ) Ltd – Höpt Soda

Pure Delish Ltd – Walnut & Feijoa Breakfast Crumble

MPI Deli
A. Verkerk Ltd – Traditional Aged Salami

Tasman Bay Food Group – Juicies

Chilled/Short Shelf Life
Sealord Group Ltd – Hot Manuka Smoked Salmon

The winners were announced at the New Zealand Food Awards Gala Dinner on September 25 at the Langham Hotel.