Alliance Group has won two major food awards for its premium Te Mana Lamb.
Te Mana Lamb, developed as part of The Omega Lamb Project, won the New Zealand Food Safety Primary Sector Products and Frozen categories at the 2018 NZ Food Awards, which showcases the best of New Zealand’s food and beverage industry.
The premium lamb has higher levels of polyunsaturated (good) fats and omega-3 fatty acids, which results in an entirely new lamb taste experience with outstanding succulence, tenderness and flavour.
It’s on the menu of a limited number of exclusive Hong Kong, New Zealand and UK restaurants and the award-winning home delivery food service My Food Bag’s My Gourmet Bag range.
Peter Russell, general manager marketing, Alliance, said the awards win highlighted the co-operative’s commitment to capturing more market value.
“Te Mana Lamb is now commanding a premium in key markets and the feedback from chefs has been positive. The development of this innovative product is the result of a collective effort between the co-operative and farmers, supported by the government.
“Te Mana Lamb has also reinforced New Zealand’s position as the home of the world’s best lamb. This lamb has been a major drawcard for a new generation of foodies and entirely new consumer segments and markets that previously weren’t interested in lamb.
“Another of our premium lambs, Silere Alpine Origin Merino, was also among winners at the New Zealand Food Awards in 2014. This underlines how Alliance Group is developing an award-winning differentiated premium product portfolio,” says Russell.
The Omega Lamb Project, a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme involving Alliance, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and a group of innovative farmers known as Headwaters, is the culmination of a decade’s research and development.
It found that the right combination of genetics, management and feeding can alter the fat profile of lamb and produce animals that are healthy, while delivering a healthier product for consumers.
The 11 category winners and a Supreme Award winner were announced on Wednesday 17 October at a gala dinner at SkyCity Convention Centre in Auckland.
A vegetable noodle range produced by a company from the small Rangitkei town of Marton took out the Massey University Supreme Award at the awards. The Whole Mix Co Ltd also won the Massey University Health and Wellbeing Award and the James & Wells Business Innovation Award for its noodle range that includes Zucchini, Butternut, Medley (Beetroot, Carrot, Zucchini) and Kumara. Judges said the products are a tasty and nutritious alternative to pasta, can be used in stir-frys and salads, or eaten straight from the package.
The awards, which have been running since 1987, celebrate creative innovation from New Zealand’s food and beverage manufacturers. More than 220 products were entered this year, with 67 products from 54 companies being named finalists.
Pāmu Landcorp Group Ltd won the Novel Food or Beverage Award, in association with ATEED and the FoodBowl for its new Pāmu Deer Milk Powder product.
Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas thanked all the entrants and congratulated the finalists and winners.
“The quality of entries and increased interest in the awards reflects a remarkable growth in the sector’s innovation and also the confidence of New Zealand companies to compete in global and domestic markets,” Professor Thomas says. “The demand for food with proven health and nutritional benefits – and, of course, great flavours – will continue to provide economic benefit to Aotearoa New Zealand.
“Massey University is very proud to be associated with the New Zealand Food Awards for 31 years now. We are committed to encouraging local businesses to continue to grow, experiment and create fantastic products by recognising them for their efforts.”
The judging panel included food writer and cookbook author Nici Wickes, award-winning chef Geoff Scott, renowned chef and food writer Ray McVinnie, and New Zealand’s first certified beer cicerone (beer expert) and founder of Moa Brewing Company Josh Scott.
The group, as well as several technical judges and three consumer judges, sampled some of New Zealand’s finest food and beverages, to come up with the category winners, and the overall Massey University Supreme Award winner.
Winning products are eligible to use the New Zealand Food Awards Quality Mark, domestically and internationally.
Updated: with extra information about an award for Silere Alpine Origin Merino lamb.