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Kāpeti named supreme at food awards

A fermented sauerkraut with pūhā (sow thistle) has won the Massey University Supreme Award at the New Zealand Food Awards.

The Wild Fermentary from the Auckland suburb of Clevedon took out the top prize for its Smoky Kāpeti. The business specialises in all things fermented, and uses ingredients like dandelion, stinging nettle, nasturtium and pūhā for their ferments. Head judge Kay McMath says the Smoky Kāpeti is a celebration of the evolving New Zealand fermentation scene. “

This is a powerful New Zealand food story, and hits the perfect balance between the traditional art and the modern science of fermentation. The Wild Fermentary have used wild foraged pūhā that is dehydrated to extend its season, locally grown jalapenos and a natural wild fermentation process that is carefully monitored and adjusted to enable bold flavours with minimal variances.

“The company ensures all parts of the ingredients are utilised in some way, and has established flexible ways of working to enable members of the wider community to participate in production. Innovative, sustainable and truly excellent, this product is unique and exciting,” she adds.

The Smoky Kāpeti also won the Chilled Award, sponsored by Massey University. There were more than 170 entries vying for the top spot this year, with 66 finalists from 45 companies across New Zealand. Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says in a time when in-person events are difficult to manage, it was exciting to host the first ever virtual New Zealand Food Awards celebration.

“As New Zealand’s leading online study provider, Massey is well practiced at operating online, but this was a new challenge for our events team to pivot from what is traditionally a large gala dinner. While it was disappointing to not be able to host the awards in Manawatū as originally planned, we are hopeful next year we will be able to celebrate together in Palmerston North, another first for the awards.

“To tonight’s winners – the awards might look a little different this year, but the sentiment remains the same. You are the best of the best. COVID-19 has taken a huge toll on many and businesses have had to change the way they do everything, so I want to congratulate the finalists and winners for not only surviving in this tough climate, but thriving. I wish you all a huge congratulations.”

The New Zealand Food Awards also announced the winner of the Product Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by AsureQuality. The award, which was introduced in 2019, celebrates Kiwi products that have withstood the test of time. Vogel’s won for its Original Mixed Grain Bread, beating other iconic Kiwi products – Wattie’s Tomato Sauce and Whittaker’s Peanut Slab.

Kiwis were also able to take part in the judging this year, as part of the People’s Choice campaign. After the success of the special Food Hero Awards last year, the awards programme introduced a new Food Hero award for 2021, sponsored by Palmerston North City Council. This award celebrates people or organisations that continuously support the New Zealand food and beverage supply chain in some way. The judges selected the finalists, but the winner was determined by public vote.

Oakley’s Premium Fresh Vegetables Ltd from Southbridge in Canterbury took out the People’s Choice prize. The family-owned business grow, harvest, pack and sell fresh produce all year round, including varieties of potatoes, broccoli, beetroot and pumpkin.

Other category winners included: Chia Sisters’ Immunity Hot Tonic, winners of the Beverage Award, sponsored by Food Innovation Network; Dancing Sands’ Sauvignon Blanc Gin, winner of the Novel Award, sponsored by KiwiSo; and Beard Brothers’ Pork and Cress, winner of the Artisan Award, sponsored by Cuisine Magazine.

The New Zealand Food Awards have celebrated New Zealand’s food and beverage manufacturers, focusing on innovation, sustainability and excellence, since 1987. 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.

See the list of winners here

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Vincent Heeringa

Vincent Heeringa

Vincent Heeringa is a communications strategist, writer, marketer and PR expert specialising in tech, investment, and sustainability. He was co-founder of Idealog, Stoppress and Good magazines and helped establish the Science Media Centre. He is the host of a podcast ‘This Climate Business’, co-founder of The Feed.co.nz, and a trustee of the Adventure Specialties Trust. And there's nothing he loves more than a good story. vincentheeringa.com

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