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FT-Jun17 3 Kathryn Calvert Editor NZ FOODTechnology Katherine Rich RATTLE YOUR DAGS It’s that time of the year again… entries are officially open for the 30th New Zealand Food Awards, but don’t dawdle as entries close on June 30. Powered by Massey University, the awards showcase food and beverage operators’ success and innovation, and boost the profile of business and brand to achieve national and international recognition. “New Zealand food and beverages are world-class in terms of quality and innovation and the New Zealand Food Awards are a fantastic way to recognise and celebrate excellence right across the industry,” Vice- Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says. The awards are open to small and large food and beverage manufacturers, primary food producers, food service providers and ingredient supply companies, and categories include chilled, dry goods, beverages, frozen, health and wellness, novel ingredients, food safety, innovation and export. Winning products earn the New Zealand Food Awards ‘Quality Mark’ to highlight the superiority of their products to both shoppers and industry. Last year’s overall champion was Wanganui’s Coastal Spring Lamb, taking out the 2016 New Zealand Food Awards Massey University Supreme Award as well as the Export Innovation and Chilled Foods Award categories with its lamb rack. This year’s winners – judged by Ray McVinnie, Jeff Scott and Nici Wickes - will be announced on October 12. SIGN UP FOR YOUR FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED FROM CANTERBURY? It’s hard to believe that six years have passed since the lethal Canterbury earthquakes, although Mother Nature has certainly not given New Zealand much of a break since. And it’s only now that some companies affected by the shakes are beginning to take deep breaths and look back on an unprecedented time in our history. Their strength, resilience and bravery, what they have learned from the experience and how the rest of the country can benefit from their stories is the impetus behind this month’s cover story. We’ve also taken a look at Maori food and beverage in Malaysia – and how you can be part of it – plus the surprising news that India is where it’s at if you are into chocolate, and China’s the place for New Zealand wine producers. Have a fantastic June. EDITOR'S NOTE BREAKING NEWS COUNTRY OF ORIGIN BILL SET TO HIT POCKETS NZ Food and Grocery Council head Katherine Rich is warning that the imminent Consumers’ Right to Know Bill could cause major problems for popular and basic parts of the family food budget. Rich believes basic staple foods such as coffee, tea, sugar, flour, fish, meat, custard powder, pepper, cooking oils, oats, spices, baking soda and some breakfast cereals could be significantly affected by the Bill. “From time to time, many of these single-component products use ingredients from several sources, and keeping up with an ever-changing supply and labelling for every batch would be a huge, if not impossible, challenge for suppliers,” Rich has told a Government Select Committee. “Coffee is a good example. Beans are globally traded, with supply changing due to availability and price. A packet of instant coffee could have beans from 10 different countries but it’s blended to have the taste consumers expect. Maintaining segregation on a massive scale, or regularly re-labelling the origin of blends, would be a task where the costs would outweigh what shoppers want. New Zealand is a very small market, which makes New Zealand specific labelling a costly option. There is also the prospect that global traders will by-pass us because of the cost of labelling, thereby reducing consumer choice and competition. Because of the unique definitions in the Bill even products from other countries with clear country of origin labels might not comply. We absolutely support country of origin labelling on a voluntary basis and our members provide this information to consumers already,” Rich says. “But expressing support for country of origin labelling and what is actually in this Bill are two different things. We told the Select Committee that, had the Bill stuck with fresh fruit and vegetables, it could have gained widespread support. These products are captured at a time when voluntary labelling for the vast majority of them is working well and truthfully under consumer law. Many are not produced locally, or only seasonally, creating a minefield of cost through re-labelling and related compliance requirements that will eventually be passed to consumers. Though it seems most consumers are in favour of country of origin labelling for fresh fruit and vegetables, they may not be so keen if it raises the cost of tea, coffee, pepper, flour and breakfast cereals,” Rich says.

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