Winners of the Hospitality Business magazine sponsored Most Innovative Hospitality Product Award – iMonitor received their award at a special event at Fine Food New Zealand.


It’s the country’s largest trade event for the foodservice, food retail and hospitality industries and it only rolls around once every two years: the winners have been announced at the Fine Food New Zealand Innovation Awards and taking the top honour is Kaitahi™ with Kaitahi™ Frozen Superfood Smoothy Drops.

The 2018 James & Wells Champion of Innovation Award was also the winner of the foodservice category, one of three ‘Most Innovative’ awards in retail, foodservice and hospitality.

Fine Food New Zealand is the international trade event for the foodservice, food retail and hospitality industries and takes place at the ASB Showgrounds over three days.

In its fifth edition, the show has attracted more than 330 exhibitors, both national and international, and is expected to draw more than 8,000 delegates over the course of three days.

Among the many highlights of the event is the Innovation Showcase which brings attention to new products and services. The Fine Food New Zealand Innovation Awards function last night (Sunday 24 June) recognised and celebrated cutting-edge food, beverage, packaging, equipment and other relevant sectors.

The James & Wells Champion of Innovation Award was presented to Kaitahi™

The frozen superfood smoothy drops are just our first innovation says Leonie Matoe, business development manager. “It’s so great that our product is validated by industry experts (judges), we were a little naïve about just how great our product is.

“We have many more creative ideas to share with the world and I believe having this recognition will support us to achieve our vision,” says Matoe.

The winner in the retail category is Cabernet Foods’ Everton Dry aged Beef and iMonitor came out on top in the hospitality category with its wireless temperature monitoring technology.

Lorraine Smith, event manager of Fine Food New Zealand says competition for the Innovation Awards was exceptionally strong. “The judges certainly had their work cut out for them, with high quality entries from diverse companies in every corner of New Zealand and internationally. Reflecting changing attitudes to food and hospitality, many of them are innovators in eco-conscious and healthy living – but what every entrant has shown is the high calibre of food production, food service and hospitality we enjoy in this country.”

The James & Wells Champion of Innovation Award was presented to Kaitahi™ by Carrick Robinson, who heads the Auckland trademarks team at the firm. “It’s not only the great ideas of New Zealanders which makes this country an exceptional producer, provider of hospitality and outstanding foodservice, but also putting those ideas into action. I’m thrilled to recognise Kaitahi™ with this award; congratulations to them, and to every entrant and finalist. Your work is important and contributes to a thriving nation.”

Kaitahi™ Frozen Superfood Smoothy Drops represents an advance on the frozen smoothie blends currently on the market.  Delivered in the form of frozen drops, trapping in the flavour and goodness, it’s a refreshingly different product that delivers delicious and nutritious functional food in a highly convenient way.  The drops include traditional Māori ingredients such as kūmara, pūhā and kawakawa, made by ringawera (cooks) who are familiar with the old ways of doing things.

Hospitality Business Editor Kimberley Dixon visits the iMonitor stand at Fine Food New Zealand.

The judges for the awards were Al Baxter, of The Foodbowl, Countdown’s Nikhil Sawant, AUT’s John Kelleher, Intermedia NZ’s Kimberley Dixon (editor of Hospitality Business) and Marisa Bidois from the Restaurant Association of NZ.

Over the show’s coming two days, delegates will have the opportunity to participate in the Silver Chef Seminar Series, the Mojo Café Hub, the Baking Industry Association of New Zealand’s competition, and to see all that is on offer from a broad cross section of exhibitors.

Fine Food New Zealand incorporates Top Shelf, the industry’s biggest trade liquor event, and the Networking Lounge provides ample opportunity to do business and make new contacts.

The finalists and winner in each of the three categories are:

 Most Innovative Retail Product or Service

  • Cabernet Foods – Everton Dry Aged Beef
  • Molly Woppy – Chewy Ginger Delight
  • Kaitahi – Kaitahi Frozen Superfood Smoothy Drops
  • Five Percent – Gault’s Tomato Ketchup
  • The Spirit Workshop – Curious Gin

 Most Innovative Foodservice Product or Service

  • Kaitahi – Kaitahi Frozen Superfood Smoothy Drops
  • Handcrafted by Loaf- Cricket Burger Bun
  • Cabernet Foods – Everton Dry Aged Beef

Most Innovative Hospitality Product or Service

  • iMonitor – Integrated Wireless Temperature Monitoring & Digital Food Safety Plan
  • Searchfield Electrical Ltd – Noodoe
  • Table Direct – Eco Burner
  • Burns & Ferrall – VarioCookingCenter®
  • Burns & Ferrall – Winterhalter polish free UC Excellence
  • Southern Hospitality – Moretti Forni Neapolis

Entry to Fine Food New Zealand and the Innovation Awards Showcase is open to industry trade professionals. Registration was free prior to Saturday 23 June, late registrations will now incur a $25 entry fee online or at the gate.

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