Kabocha Milk, made in the Hawke’s Bay, has won the “Best Plant Based Beverage” at the World Plant Food Conference.
The judging panel considered 110 entries from 20 countries.
Kabocha Milk is a collaboration between veteran Hawke’s Bay buttercup squash grower Shane Newman and Japanese celebrity chef Sachie Nomura, who was previously involved in an avocado milk formulated in New Zealand. Kabocha (Japanese word for pumpkin) is revered in Japan and Korea for its health and wellness properties and is considered a staple of Asian cuisine. Kabocha Milk is an innovative fully vegan-certified plant milk, rich in vitamin A, carotene, fibre, minerals and vitamins and has no artificial flavours, preservatives or colourings.
The new venture taps into Newman’s existing distribution and retail connections in Asian markets through the 40-year-old family squash business, representing a true ‘farm-to-bottle’ experience for the consumer. The product is already stocked in two high-end Japanese retail store chains with plans to reach over 5000 stores across Japan, Korea and China in the next couple of years.
Kabocha milk is able to derive greater value for farmers, utilising crops that may not meet export grade due to cosmetic blemishes, and solves the issue of NZ Kabocha only having a short window on shelf during the year, meaning the NZ Inc. story can be promoted throughout the year for customers.
Kabocha Milk was supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund.