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Salmon reigns supreme at NZ Food Awards

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Salmon reigns supreme at NZ Food Awards

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon's Saikou Sushi-Grade Salmon was named the supreme award winner at the New Zealand Food Awards hosted by Massey University at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland tonight.

The Twizel-based company's product stood out for its excellent taste and the innovative operations system used to ensure its product reaches customers in the very best condition.

"This is a very good quality product that has changed the world of salmon - a farmed salmon with the tastes of free-running river salmon," chief judge Ray McVinnie said.

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon operates on the Tekapo Canal, a man-made channel for hydro electricity generation between Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. The company's cool chain management system keeps the fish at the optimum temperature for eating quality of between minus 1degC and 1degC from harvest until delivery. The Saikou Sushi-Grade Salmon also took top honours in the Food Operations category of the awards.

Massey Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health head Professor Richard Archer says the food and beverage industry is the fastest growing in New Zealand and that was reflected in the huge interest in this year's awards. "The processed food and beverage industry is now worth $2.5 billion and growing at 18 per cent per annum," Professor Archer says. "It's a third of the size of the dairy industry, but growing twice as quickly, and it's an area of huge opportunity. New Zealand has all the right ingredients - excellent raw products, innovative technology and a great customer base, so if we really do want to catch Australia economically, this industry is well placed to spearhead the effort. Much of the technical expertise in this industry comes from the couple of thousand food tech graduates that have come out of Massey over the past 45 years - that makes it particularly exciting for us." 

Other category winners were the Reunion Food Company of Tauranga for Heilala Vanilla Syrup, which won the Enterprise category, and Hubbards Foods for the breakfast cereal Real.

Judging panel member Ben ven Delden of KPMG said Heilala Vanilla Syrup is an excellent addition to the company's vanilla pod products business. "This shows that a truly outstanding product and the right positioning of it can enable New Zealand companies to generate a profit from one of the most labour-intensive crops in the world, all the while investing in research and development," Mr ven Delden said.

Another member of the judging panel, Massey University senior lecturer in food science and technology Dr John Grigor said a gluten-free bread range from Auckland's Goodman Fielder, which won the AJ Park Research and Development Award, showed the company demonstrated a methodical approach to a difficult task. "They have developed gluten-free bread with all the properties of one that is made with wheat flour," Dr Grigor said.

The awards, in association with Massey University, identify the best food products New Zealand delivers, with categories from dairy and convenience to emerging and export food business.

Main results:

Massey University Supreme Award: Mt Cook Alpine Salmon, Twizel, Salmon Saikou Sushi-Grade Salmon (whole salmon gilled and gutted).

KPMG Food Enterprise Innovation Award: Reunion Food Company Ltd, Tauranga, Heilala Vanilla Syrup.

MAF Food Operations Innovation Award: Mt Cook Alpine Salmon, Twizel, Salmon Saikou Sushi-Grade Salmon (whole salmon gilled and gutted).

Zespri Food Product Innovation Award: Hubbards Foods Ltd, Auckland, Real (light wholegrain flakes).

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