Innovation wins at Fine Food NZ
The brightest stars in the food industry have been recognised at a biennial bonanza in Auckland. Fine Food New Zealand, the international trade event for the food service, food retail and hospitality industries, last Sunday announced the winners of the prized Innovation Awards. Entrants came from categories covering everything from dairy-­free coconut yogurt to a cafe-­friendly beer and cider brewed from Manuka honey to a coeliac dining out programme. Choosing the winners proved difficult, says Dona White, CEO of North Port Events, which runs Fine Food New Zealand. “Due to the high calibre of entrants, our judges had no easy task.” Now in its fourth edition (the show has run every two years since 2010) New Zealand’s biggest trade event for the influential food industry is enjoying its biggest outing yet. Close to 300 exhibitors, both national and international, are on show for an expected 7000 trade visitors from around the country and abroad. Fine Food New Zealand covers everything big and small: in the kitchen, front of house and in the food retail environment. It recognises the country’s unique selling position as an innovator in the entire culinary field, says Dona White. “We are seeing products that address the growing sophistication of palates, but many exhibitors are tapping into global food trends and allergen-­friendly diets that are not going to disappear.” Cutting-edge catering equipment that supports full-scale food service operators, as well as single cafe ventures also feature prominently. There’s even a virtual cafe or restaurant for owners to visualise their best fit­out options. The culinary extravaganza also has up-­to-­the minute seminars and presentations, addressing vital food industry issues such as breaking into the Australian market, as well as intellectual property issues and health and safety at work. The Restaurant Association of New Zealand Barista Smackdown, where baristas from around the country went head-­to­-head in knockout heats to create the perfect coffee, has also drawn excited crowds.