The New Zealand Food Awards have recently been presented at a gala dinner at the Langham Hotel in Auckland. Among the winners of the night was Kaweka Foods, who won the New Zealand Food Safety Authority Operations Innovation Award and the AsureQuality Food Safety Award for its lamb shank with rosemary and red wine sauce.
The judges said the product held up well to rigorous testing. “With a shelf-life of two years this product was subject to numerous thermal validation trials to ensure product safety and integrity. The task was more difficult because of the multiple components in the pack (sauce, whole muscle meat and bone shank), all with different thermal transfer rates. Kaweka Foods has managed the retort process so the foods are not only shelf-stable, but look good and have great flavour and texture.”
Kaweka Foods is a small but innovative company, based in the Hawke’s Bay. It specialises in ready-to-eat meal solutions and is passionate about using high-quality ingredients to create nutritious and delicious meals. The company has a state-of-the-art factory in Hastings that is certified to the world’s highest recognised thermal processing standards, USDA and US FDA, and has strong product development and product innovation capabilities. Kaweka Foods not only develops and produces its own branded products but also manufactures military meals for the NZ defence forces as well as organic baby food for the Green Monkey brand.
The company uses simple physical principles to achieve its high-safety results, involving pressure and steam to ‘sterilise’ the food. These are advanced enough to read the temperature inside a particular particle of meat, in the middle of a pouch, in the middle of a sealed vessel. Kaweka Foods’ work is validated with extensive testing, record keeping, highly trained and expert supervisory staff and various types of regular and systematic laboratory work.
Tony Egan, CEO of AsureQuality, said these awards demonstrate Kaweka Foods’ commitment to food safety and hygiene standards. “We are delighted to support the NZ Food Awards and a company such as Kaweka Foods, whose commitment to food safety and quality is very much in line with our own.”