Juicies company scoops two awards

Tasman Bay Food Group founder Brian Hirst.
Phil Barnes

Tasman Bay Food Group founder Brian Hirst.

Brightwater-based company Tasman Bay Food Group has scooped awards in two categories at the national New Zealand Food Awards.

The company won two awards for innovation at the ceremony in Auckland on Thursday night - the NZTE Export Innovation Award for their Juicies tubes and the Rabobank Business Innovation Award.

The company, founded by Brian Hirst, has a factory based in Brightwater. It started in 1984 as Tasman Bay Fruit Juices and then became known as Robinson Brothers. It focused on making healthy food for school children. Its Juicies tubes are stocked in school canteens around the country. 

The company also makes dairy products, fruit bars, fruit pies, biscotti and long-life military products.

The awards event at the Auckland Town Hall drew more than 300 people from the food industry. The awards were in high demand this year with a 40 per cent increase in entries compared to 2014. 

The awards were judged by food writer Nici Wickes and Auckland restauranteur Geoff Scott.

Wickes said there was a high level of creativity, innovation and quality in the products entered.  

"This is indicative of the forward-thinking nature of New Zealand's food industry," she said. 

Waikato's Magills Butchery Ltd was the overall winner of the night, taking out the Massey University Supreme Award for its Magills Slow-Cooked Pulled Hereford Beef.

Massey University Assistant Vice-Chancellor for external relations Penelope Barr-Sellers said the quality of entries reflected growth and excellence in New Zealand's food and beverage industry.

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