We chatted to Emily King and Lauraine Jacobs about what they would like to see at this year’s Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards.
Emily, what are you looking for in an Outstanding Food Producer?
What I’m looking for is clear communication of the story of your food from the start to the end product. This is right across the system from growing, to production, to the final product, and importantly what measures you’re implementing across that spectrum to improve your environmental and social performance. So that includes impacts on, and usage of, things like soil, water, energy, packaging, food or other waste, and the community and environment in which you are operating. Remember, it’s positive social impacts as well as environmental.
What are the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards all about for you Lauraine?
The inaugural Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards judging last year introduced me to some really exciting products from both clever food artisans, and smart larger food producers. No matter how hard we try to keep up with new foods and value-added products, there will always be something brilliant that can get overlooked. These Awards became a showcase to not only introduce the new, but to remind us of some of the consistently fine products and produce that display ‘Kiwi ingenuity.’
In your experience Emily, what sorts of things should food producers be focusing on to become an award-winning enterprise?
Outstanding food businesses tend to go over and above the standard sustainability measures that comparable products use and have innovative and creative ways to solve challenges they face, while producing a top product. Last year there was a strong correlation between the businesses with genuine restorative practices and the top tasting products. Businesses who don’t compromise on quality or cut corners are often the ones with top sustainability credentials as well, that’s because they’re doing things properly! And their products taste great and sell well as a result.
What is the number one thing you want to see in the entries this year Lauraine?
The judging panel are keen to see and taste the results of the consistent hard and admirable work of farmers and innovators who send wonderful foods into the local and international market. I’m really looking forward to seeing an even wider reach in the 2018 Awards.
If you think your business is what Emily and Lauraine are looking for, enter the 2019 Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards at outstandingfoodproducer.nz. Whether you run a large or small operation, everyone is welcome to enter the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards. Products must be available at retail at the time of judging via specialty retail stores, supermarkets, farmers’ markets or online. Each entry will receive feedback from the Judges and a complimentary pass to the Outstanding NZ Food Producers Marketing Workshops being held in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch in July and August.