Kabocha Milk Co., made in the Hawke’s Bay, has scooped another two international food innovation awards – this time at the 2022 World Food Innovations in London as the “Best Health and Wellness Drink” and “Best Plant Based Beverage”
Kabochamilk (not to be confused with ‘Kombucha) was created in collaboration between between veteran Hawke’s Bay grower Shane Newman and Japanese New Zealand celebrity chef Sachie Nomura with the goal of creating a visually beautiful, nutritious plant milk that isn’t affected by seasonality and can be consumed any time of the day.
Fresh Kabocha (also known as pumpkin or squash) has been eaten by the people of Japan, Korea and China since 1541, and is valued for its high Vitamin A and C content, and rich fibre and mineral content. Kabochamilk turns New Zealand Kabocha into a high-value export opportunity.
The World Food Innovation Awards gives a fine representation of what the future beholds for food innovation, revolutionary technologies, and health-conscious consumers. It is the 8th year that the World Food Innovation Awards celebrates and recognizes creative innovation and excellence in the global food industry. Held this year in London in partnership with IFE, the judging panel, including senior figures from Selfridges, JourneyFoods and Mission Ventures, considered entries from over 22 countries before choosing final winners across 25 categories.
Kabochamilk is a fully certified 100% vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, preservative free, artificial colours and flavour free, cholesterol free milk. It is excellent for health, (close to 50% of your Vitamin A needs in a serve) and has a 15 month shelf life. Presently all stock is manufactured and exported to Japan and Korea who have already sold out of the business’s last shipment. The business has attracted investment already from an overseas VC Fund, local NZ horticultural industry heavyweights and investors all passionate about the valued and long-standing relationship NZ has with Asian partners such as Japan and Korea. The business has plans to reach over 5000 stores across Japan, Korea and China in the next couple of years.
Founder Sachie Nomura says “I’m really proud to connect my two homes together, Japan and New Zealand with a product I absolutely love. We are also very unique in the market in that we are true farmer-to-chef-to-bottle experience and with borders lifting we love the idea of bringing some of our major customers down to New Zealand to enjoy our warm hospitality, and see exactly where their beautiful ingredients are made from”.
This is the third award for the Kabocha Milk team in 12 months, having also scooped the “Best Plant Based Beverage” at the World Plant Food Awards held in New York City. CEO Shane Newman says “we’re on Cloud Nine, and really chuffed that an idea created in little old New Zealand can take on and beat some of the big industry heavyweights again in innovation and taking something novel and great to the World. We are also excited too about expanding our product portfolio soon into new flavours of the Kabochamilk, as well as getting in the race to develop alternative proteins using the amazing health benefits of Kabocha, while upcycling waste streams – it’s a win win for the consumer, the industry, and NZ Inc.”