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FoodStarter Competition Providing Boost to Supplier Community in 2021

New World and Ministry of Awesome have started the search for New Zealand’s food and beverage product superstars, this year with an additional category for small suppliers and a supersized prize package which includes the priceless opportunity for the winners to range their products in every single New World throughout New Zealand.

Returning for its third year, the arrival of COVID-19 sparked the expansion of FoodStarter to a national competition.

Ministry of Awesome chief executive, Marian Johnson, says “it’s been a very tough year for food and beverage start-ups and small suppliers alike, the lockdowns made it challenging to trade for some, and for others, it’s been hard to focus on growing their business. When we were planning FoodStarter 2021, all the partners wanted to take positive action, giving more members of the awesome food and beverage producer community the opportunity of a much-needed boost after such a challenging year.”

The result was an exciting plan to rapidly expand the FoodStarter competition, adding a brand new category to encompass New World’s existing small suppliers who are currently locally ranged and looking to grow, plus supersizing the prize to include ranging at New World nationwide.

Ministry of Awesome CEO Marian Johnson and FoodStuffs New Zealand MD Steven Anderson

Supporting the scale up to a national competition, FoodStarter is welcoming two new partners, Foodstuffs North Island and Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) adding their weight to founders Foodstuffs South Island and Ministry of Awesome and existing partners New Zealand Food Innovation Network with two of their hubs: Food South in Christchurch and The FoodBowl in Auckland, economic development agency ChristchurchNZ, and advertising agency, Strategy Creative.

The decision to scale up FoodStarter was an easy decision says Steve Anderson, Managing Director Foodstuffs New Zealand. “One of our four social promises is supporting communities to thrive and grow. Taking FoodStarter to this next level will support the creation of new jobs and enable the growth of some very exciting food and beverage businesses. It’s fantastic to be behind such an exciting initiative, the sky really is the limit and we can’t wait to see the entries start to flood in.”

Last year’s FoodStarter winner Ananda Vegan Goodness are about to feel the full effect of winning the competition with their Italian style Vegan Sausage hitting New World South Island shelves this week.

Fernando Gutierrez Co-owner of Ananda Vegan Goodness and winner of FoodStarter 2019

Co-owner Fernando Gutierrez says, “winning FoodStarter has been absolutely incredible. The support and direction from all the partners has helped me realise my dream of taking my product from farmers market to the supermarket shelf, something I’d always dreamed of achieving. If you’re thinking of entering you need to know that - even with the support of the FoodStarter team - it’s a lot of hard work and you can expect to meet plenty of challenges along the way, but it’s absolutely worth it. There’s nothing like seeing your product on the shelf at New World!”

Entries for FoodStarter are now open, go to and complete the simple application form.

Foodstarter categories are:

  • Food & Beverage Startup – for businesses who aren’t currently ranged with New World
  • Small Suppliers With New World – for businesses who are ranged with New World

Entries close on 7 February 2021, shortlisted candidates will be advised in March 2021.

For more information and to meet all the partners involved in FoodStarter go to