The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Kai with kindness stand out in NZ ‘Food Heroes’ winners

West Auckland-based Fair Food Charitable Trust has been named New Zealand’s ‘food heroes’.

The trust took out the Massey University Supreme Winner NZ Food Heroes Award title in the New Zealand Food Awards’ ‘food heroes’ campaign last week.

Winners in seven categories were announced from 48 finalists selected from more than 340 nominations.

They represent Aotearoa’s unsung food heroes – including a tourism company, industry bodies, community groups, small-town supermarket workers, and cafés.

The unique awards have shone a light on the phenomenal nation-wide, behind-the-scenes efforts of volunteers and staff from charities, businesses and individuals to ensure kindness and kai were in plentiful supply during New Zealand’s COVID-19 response.

Winners of the Greater Good NZ Food Heroes Award, Fair Food Charitable Trust was chosen as the Supreme Winner for “the way it demonstrated excellent team work and leadership in order to significantly upscale a food rescue and distribution service to provide food for over 20,000 people in need a week”.

In 2019 they rescued 121 tonnes of food (equal to 348,000 meals) – then due to COVID-19, they radically scaled up their response rescuing on average 143 tonnes (over 400,000 meals) per month in 2020. 

The organisation was nominated for upscaling efforts during the pandemic and building on a legacy of rescuing surplus fit-to-eat food for people in need, addressing social and environmental issues – such as food waste – that were among our most urgent even before COVID-19 struck. 

Professor Ray Geor, Pro Vice-Chancellor College of Sciences and New Zealand Food Awards Governance Board Chair, says Fair Food Charitable Trust “embodies the Kiwi spirit that the New Zealand Food Awards and the NZ Food Heroes campaign stand for”.

Other category winners:

  • Countdown People’s Choice NZ Food Heroes Award: Supreme Sikh Society
  • New Zealand Food Safety Outstanding Service NZ Food Heroes Award: New World Foxton
  • Cuisine Local Hero NZ Food Heroes Award: Diana Greer
  • James and Wells Innovators NZ Food Heroes Award: SOS Café
  • New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Industry Supporter NZ Food Heroes Award: Restaurant Association of New Zealand
  • Palmerston North City Council Greater Good NZ Food Heroes Award: Fair Food Charitable Trust
  • AsureQuality The Dream Team NZ Food Heroes Award: Waitarere Beach Four Square staff

“It’s been incredibly inspiring to see so many worthy organisations and individuals nominated for the awards,” says judge Graham Rouse.

“And although our nominees span different categories and geographical locations, it was heartening to see so many of them underpinned by the value of ‘care’.

“That’s important because we know that consumers around the world are looking for safe, nutritious, premium quality, ethical and tasty food and beverages. Through our value of care, New Zealand is perfectly placed to meet these needs.”

Winning products earn the New Zealand Food Award’s quality mark to highlight their innovation and excellence to shoppers and industry.

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