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FoodStarter, a New World of awesome food innovation

New World’s competition to find the most innovative Food & Beverage products in NZ.

FoodStarter is New Zealand’s food and beverage innovation challenge led by Foodstuffs New Zealand and Ministry of Awesome.
It is a national challenge designed to identify and power New Zealand’s most innovative and promising food and beverage start-ups with winners receiving full placement across the entire New World retail network – a quite literally life-changing opportunity.


Pressure Cooker evening 2021

The search for New Zealand’s most innovative food and beverage products culminated with ten finalists pitching their exciting products to the judging panel in a Dragon's Den style event called Pressure Cooker:



What's the prize?

Winners get heaps of support to scale up from FoodStarter partners so they're ready to take up their prize of a spot on New World's shelves nationwide. Prize includes:

Opportunity to range your products in the New World supermarket network across New Zealand
Product Development and Manufacturing Support from New Zealand Food Innovation Network.
Expert Business Support and Mentorship from Ministry of Awesome.
Branding and Marketing support from Strategy Creative.
Business Incubation provided by Te Ōhaka - Centre for Innovation and Growth (if based in South Island) or $2500 worth of grant for workspace at Te Haa O Manukau (if based in North Island).
National Media Coverage by organising partners’ owned media channels.

Introducing 2021 FoodStarter winners

New Zealand entrepreneurs shone on the FoodStarter stage. 

Start-Up Category Winner: Lilo Desserts - Lilo Plant Based Cheesecakes

Lilo Deserts are creating the future of feel-good snacking with their plant-based cheesecakes using rescued fruit from New Zealand orchards. The team behind Lilo - Cleo Gilmour, Russell Haines, Alex Worker and Hayden Kennedy, after living and working overseas, returned to New Zealand with a new appreciation for the value of New Zealand orchardists - so they set out to invent an innovative product that celebrates our food growers and using fruit that might otherwise go to waste. 

Small Suppliers with New World Category Winner: Kaitahi As One - Frozen Superfood Smoothy Drops

Whanganui based Kaitahi As One (Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi Iwi) are based on a social ecological entrepreneurship model which recognises and captures value through enterprises where people and nature matter.  The enterprise works collaboratively to grow and source native plant foods and transform them into healthy food and beverage products, with the financial returns invested into the community.  Their Frozen Superfood Smoothy Drops combine nutritious fruit and vegetables with traditional Māori ingredients such as pūha and kawakawa. Designed to make healthy living easier, you just combine the frozen drops with liquid and shake – no blender required!

Need to kickstart your innovation?

If you're trying to kickstart your food or beverage innovation and entrepreneurship in your region our FoodStarter challenge may be just what you are looking for. 

Find out more about FoodStarter

2020 FoodStarter winner

Ananda Vegan Goodness

Ananda’s flagship product Italian Style Vegan Sausage is now selling at New World in South Island, made possible with the support of Foodstuffs South Island’s category management team who provided expertise in the areas of product development, distribution and commercialisation.

For Ananda, support with the sourcing of appropriate manufacturers, branding, packaging and many, many hours working with FoodStarter partner, FoodSouth, to perfect the product for larger volumes of production proved invaluable.   

What the participants are saying


“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. I’d totally recommend anyone who has an innovative product to enter”.

Fernando Gutierrez, co-owner of Ananda Vegan Goodness

FoodStarter winner 2020


"This has been such an incredible journey, it was really exciting getting to the final and being alongside so many passionate foodies who want to make a difference in New Zealand. We can’t wait to take Lilo to all the New World’s across NZ."

Cleo Gilmour, Lilo's Sales and Marketing General Manager

FoodStarter winner 2021


“The calibre of the finalists was mind blowing and we’re so humbled to be recognised in this way.  The wairua of Kaitahi will go to the next level with the help of the FoodStarter partners, the ‘Kaitahi effect’ has really come to life and we can’t wait to get going.”

Arohaina Owen, Kaitahi As One Working Group Lead

FoodStarter winner 2021


"Winning FoodStarter is such an exciting opportunity because it brings together so many experts ready to help accelerate the progress of two very interesting and appealing new products. I’m really proud to be part of the winners’ journey and winning the Pressure Cooker Pitch is just the beginning.”

 Marian Johnson, Ministry of Awesome CEO