Taranaki food producers unite to share the tastes of the region at Auckland’s Food Show 2020

Taranaki has long been a significant contributor to New Zealand’s food sector, having helped position the country as a global dairy heavyweight, and driving the red meat, poultry, and plant food industries with production of value-added goods for domestic and international markets. Taranaki strives to continue on the path of success forged by the dairy sector, with up-and-coming producers set to take the national stage at this month’s Auckland Food Show.

In support and recognition of Taranaki’s evolving food story, Venture Taranaki is once again working with a collective of local food producers to showcase the region at the Auckland Food Show on 19-22 November – a little later in the year than normal due to delays from COVID-19.

The Auckland Food Show is New Zealand’s largest food show and attracts the who’s who of the culinary world: trade, celebrity chefs and over 30,000 visitors. Yet again, Venture Taranaki has secured a prime spot, aptly named the Taste of Taranaki Collective.

This year, the collective boasts four experienced returnees to the Show – local gin distillers Juno Gin, craft brewers Three Sisters Brewing, Egmont Honey, and Kaitahi. Also included in the collective for the first time are rum distillers LWF Distilling, Zoa Feijoa Liqueur, Krakin Chillies, and French cuisine-inspired Maison Aotearoa Charcuterie.

“This year’s Taste of Taranaki Collective is an exciting mix of producers who have been to the show and know what to expect, imparting their knowledge and expertise onto the newer producers experiencing the show for the first time,” explains Justine Gilliland, Chief Executive.

“These producers reflect the growing depth and diversity of our local food industry,” continues Anne Probert, General Manager Regional Strategy and Sectors.

Food production is a major sector in Taranaki, contributing $1.5 billion to our economy and sustaining over 10,200 jobs. Taranaki has the second highest food production GDP per capita in New Zealand – a fact that has helped mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the local economy.

Foundational work is underway in Taranaki to ensure the resilience of our prosperous and vital food sector. Tapuae Roa, Taranaki’s regional development strategy, identifies food as one of our four key futures. A Food and Fibre Transition Pathway Action Plan has also been created under the Taranaki 2050 Roadmap, outlining the way forward to establish Taranaki as a respected region for premium, sustainable, low-emissions food and fibre products.

“Platforms such as The Auckland Food Show allow Taranaki to be showcased, where we can tell our food story and advertise our unique points of difference and innovations. We’re constantly looking at ways to support, connect and expand our food industry, and our attendance at the show is a great example of this,” says Anne.

“Our food industry in Taranaki underpins our economic future and our journey of returning to better during this global pandemic; it is an industry we can all continue to be proud of,” further adds Anne.

Venture Taranaki is fostering the development of a Future Foods ethos here in Taranaki – the creation of high-value branded food items, capitalising on emerging consumer trends and offering significant growth potential for the Taranaki region. Extension of the local food industry through encouraging the development of increased food tourism is also an area of aligned opportunity for Taranaki.  

“The goal is not necessarily about producing more food – but the creation of more value-add foods and products,” explains Anne.

“With our presence at the Auckland Food Show, our aim is to showcase Taranaki on the national stage as a food region, provide our up-and-coming producers with brand exposure, allow them the opportunity to forge inroads with their national and international distribution channels, and gain important feedback from consumers.”