The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

NZ food & beverage heroes celebrated… from a distance


Due to the huge impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Zealand Food Awards – powered by Massey University – have shifted from its usual programme to generating a community-focussed celebration of innovators across all sectors of the food and beverage industry.

New Zealand Food Awards is inviting individuals and organisations to get behind its ‘NZ Food Heroes’ campaign by nominating organisations or people who have kept the industry going.

“Things have changed rapidly for the food and beverage industry,” says New Zealand Food Awards spokesperson, Kelly Douglas.

“As we move in to Level 2 and beyond, it’s important to acknowledge the hard workers continuing to bring the country’s food and beverage excellence, innovation and sustainability to our homes, and our bubbles.”

Massey University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jan Thomas, says the campaign is an opportunity to recognise unsung heroes.

Professor Jan Thomas

“Rather than skip a year, we want to take this opportunity to shine a light on the essential workers in the food and beverage sector and the stand-outs that have really made a difference,” she says.

“The work that has continued to be undertaken by our food industries on the frontline has been invaluable, and I think New Zealand has come to see their role in a new light in recent weeks.”

“The New Zealand Food Awards, Massey University and our partner network have been amazed by the efforts of our community to help Kiwis and businesses survive this challenging time and we believe they deserve some recognition,” says Douglas.

“So that’s what we’re going to do this year. Like us, we bet you have a few heroes you’d like to thank. So tell us who they are. We’ll be giving a bit of love back to the New Zealand ‘Food Heroes’ you nominate.”

Villa Maria has already nominated its harvesting crews for working tirelessly to ensure the crop was harvested, going above and beyond by living though lockdown away from their homes in camper-van villages they set up to protect the workers.

Nominations are open for individuals or organisations that have supported the New Zealand food and beverage supply chain in some way.

“We’re also accepting nominations for those who pivoted to use their food and beverage powers to support the COVID-19 response. Did your local brewery shift from hops to hand sanitiser, for example?,” says Douglas.

Nominate your unsung hero at and share on social media using #NZFoodHeroes #NZFoodAwards so that the New Zealand Food Awards can help the rest of New Zealand celebrate them too.

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