Award categories


Each year hundreds of products strive for the position at the top of New Zealand’s food and beverage industry – to be the supreme winner at the New Zealand Food Awards.

Judging themes

Judging criteria vary across the categories however, the products exhibiting the highest levels of the Awards' core characteristics will rise to the standard of finalist (no small achievement in itself!), category winner and supreme winner. The themes that are judges are looking for are innovation, excellence and sustainability.



A company’s ability to take product development to a new level, creating original or improved consumer products, fulfilling an identified need in the market.

Innovation can be witnessed at any stage in the food system including harvesting, formulation, production or process, manufacturing, packaging and distribution.


A company that surpasses everyday industry standards to achieve the very highest quality in its business and through the product development process from concept to market.

Excellence may be illustrated through all aspects of product development from formulation to taste and visual presentation, and in business processes across said development, and the wider organisation.


Demonstration of a company’s commitment to maximizing environmental and social outcomes across the entire life-cycle of the product i.e. from agricultural production through manufacturing, distribution, use and on to final waste management.

Outcomes may be related to, but not limited to, management of carbon, water, waste and biodiversity, and the wellbeing of staff and local communities.


Products in the New Zealand Food Awards are judged in two types of awards:

  • Product awards

  • Special awards

The supreme winner is selected from among the winners of each of the individual category awards.

You may enter each product in up to three categories - please read our full terms and conditions prior to entry.

Product Awards

Alcoholic Beverages

Open to all beverages containing more than 0.5% alcohol.

Artisan Food

For producers demonstrating exceptional standards, showing dedication to creating innovative products with a philosophy which focuses on retaining the integrity of the highest quality ingredients.

Examples include: Artisan cheeses, boutique chocolates, condiments and beverages - products positioned in the high added value segment of the market; ingredients specific to artisanal products.

Chilled/Short Shelf Life Foods

For food products or ingredients with a limited shelf-life that requires cool storage to maintain food safety and product quality.

Examples include: Yoghurts, cheeses, dips, pouch soups, meats and deli products, dressed poultry and chilled ready meals; ingredients for chilled food products.

Frozen Foods

For food products or ingredients that require frozen storage to maintain product quality and shelf-life.

Examples include: Ice creams, ready to eat meals, pastries, frozen desserts, prepared fruits/vegetables; ingredients for frozen food products.

Grocery Foods

Products (including ingredients, partially prepared and ready-to-eat foods) that can safely be stored at ambient temperatures for the period of their shelf-life.

Examples include: Sauces, soups, spreads, condiments, cereals, bread and bakery mixes, energy bars, potato chips, cured meats, meal preparation kits; ingredients for ambient-stable food products.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Open to all beverages containing less than 0.5% alcohol.

Examples include: Water, flavoured milks, energy drinks, smoothies, carbonated beverages, juices, juice concentrates, teas, kombucha, ginger beer, kefir; ingredients for these beverages.

Special Awards

Business Innovation

Awarded to a company who demonstrate the use of technology, functionality and innovation in marketing channels, distribution or business models in either local or international markets.

Health and Wellbeing

This award can be presented to a product(s) which demonstrates benefit to the health and wellness of consumers through the positioning and performance of those products.

Novel Food or Beverage

Open to all food and beverage products whose growers and manufacturers demonstrate innovation in formulation, manufacturing or packaging to develop a profitable new food or food ingredient product. Product development and manufacture must have occurred in New Zealand.

Primary Sector Products

Awarded to primary sector food and beverage products where value has been added through the introduction of new varieties, cultivars or breeds. Alternatively, where innovative products have been introduced through new or different harvesting, processing, packaging or distribution channels. For the purposes of entry, primary sector products are those sold in their purest form, with minimal processing (also referred to as “wholefoods”).

Examples include: meats, poultry, seafood, milk, fruits, grains.

Get the recognition your product deserves