The search for New Zealand’s most innovative and promising food and beverage start-up is open now!

Does your new food or beverage product have what it takes to fly off supermarket shelves? If the answer is "YES!" – then this is the competition that will change your life. 

If you win:

  • 1. Your product will be stocked on New World supermarket shelves across the South Island 
  • AND
  • 2. You'll get a team of growth experts to help you build a successful and sustainable Canterbury-supported business

New World and the Ministry of Awesome have teamed up to find New Zealand’s most innovative start-up (or young business). The FoodStarter competition is searching for someone with drive and passion and an innovative new food or beverage product to take to market.  

The winner receives a package of tangible prizes worth more than $75,000. BUT the biggie is the chance to set up a manufacturing base in Canterbury and guaranteed placement of your product in New World supermarkets across the South Island.  


The biggest challenge for any food or beverage startup is getting to market…

New World St Martins

New World has that covered! The winner will get the full support of its product development, merchandise and retail experts to create your go to market strategy. 

Bigger still; the winning product will receive distribution and placement into New World supermarkets across the South Island and that is PRICELESS!

You also get a powerhouse of expertise and support from startup and sector experts right across the food and beverage industry. 

Canterbury is a hot bed of opportunity and business innovation. It's also the perfect HQ for a high-growth food and beverage entrepreneur’s bold ambitions. The winner will benefit from some of the best brains in business!

Fast-moving food and beverage can be a hard business to break into, so you need to be a passionate and committed entrepreneur. FoodStarter gives you the full support of New Zealand’s largest supermarket in a priceless opportunity to accelerate your business. Enter for the opportunity to see your innovative product flying off supermarket shelves across the South Island.  


The Prize Package

One lucky food and beverage startup wins guaranteed placement of their product in New World supermarkets across the South Island!

That same lucky winner also gets a business acceleration package worth more than $75,000 which includes:

New World Support

Go to market, sell-in, and sell-throgh strategy support provided by the New Zealand category, merchandising and retail teams and guaranteed distribution and retail space in New World South Island stores. 

Expert Startup Support  

Provided by the startup activator team at the Ministry of Awesome alongside experienced mentorship from Christchurch's dynamic startup ecosystem.

A Canterbury HQ for one year 

At Te Ōhaka - Centre for Growth & Inovation where you'll love the surroundings and constant opportunities for collaboration with other like-minded entrepreneurs. 

Specialist Support

Provided by FoodSouth who are experts in food and beverage product development, scale-up, and helping you to grow your business and make connections. 

Design and Marketing Genius

Provided by Strategy Creative one of Australasia's leading creative agencies.

Media Coverage

Ongoing national, South Island and Regional PR, marketing and media opportunities via Stuff and your association with FoodStarter competition.

How it works:

Entries open on 16 September and close at 11:59pm on 13 October 2019 



Click here and find out about the competition criteria

Entries close 


Entries Close at 11.59pm

The First 15


The expert panel will announce the top 15 finalists who will be invited to submit a more detailed application.

Top 5 Announced


The Top 5 finalists are announced and invited to the Pressure Cooker event where they will pitch to the judging panel.

Pressure Cooker


Finalists present to the judges and the FoodStarter 2019 winner is announced that very evening. 


end Jan 2020

Your accelleration journey begins here and you will be surrounded by support from the New World category teams, Ministry of Awesome, FoodSouth, and Strategy Advertising. 

The Judging Criteria

Get ready to sell us your product!

We will want to know the story of its origins, we want to know about you and your passion and we need to know why people will love your offering. Your entry can include photos, video, customer feedback, links to online spaces and written submissions.

You will be scored against each of the following criteria:

  • You and your existing business – what age and stage in business you are at? We will look at your business plan, your financial and business ability to scale up, your ability to commit to a one-year business incubation prize package and your willingness to base your business in Canterbury.
  • Your product – it can be any food or beverage for human or pet consumption, but it must be on trend, innovative and have consumer appeal. We will look at how easily your product will meet food regulations and how it will slot into the New World distribution system.
  • Your story – how did your product come about, why are you passionate about it and why do people love it. What need does your product meet and what makes your product authentic and sustainable.
  • Shelf ready – the prize package will take your product from where it is now onto supermarket shelves. Our experts will assess what it will take to make this happen – packaging, viability, quality control (including food safety regulations), GS1 verification … and anything else you need to succeed. 

Meet The Judges

Steve Anderson  

Foodstuffs South Island Chief Executive  

Steve Anderson is the Chief Executive of Foodstuffs South Island. While Foodstuffs is the grocery giant of NZ - it embraces small manufacturers that are thriving through their ingenuity, agility, and ability to think outside the square.

Marian Johnson  

Chief Awesome Officer of Ministry of Awesome  

Marian Johnson is chief executive of Ministry of Awesome - the Canterbury organisation that is the starting point for ambitious entrepreneurs. Ministry of Awesome delivers essential support, guidance, capability training, and networks that high growth entrepreneurs need to succeed. 

Tracey Sheehy  

Head of Business Development at FoodSouth  

Tracey Sheehy heads up business development at FoodSouth, part of the Food Innovation Network who support innovative food and beverage development, scale-up and commercialisation.

Geoff Collett

Editor-In-Chief, Lifestyle & Style, Stuff.co.nz 

Geoff Collett is the editor in chief across all Stuff's editorial verticals giving him oversight of the editors, journalists and contributors who produce the core content for the Stuff website and its stable of award-winning newspapers and magazines, including The Press, Dominion Post, Sunday Star-Times and NZ House & Garden. 


Can I enter the competition if I’m not based in Christchurch / Canterbury? 

Yes, the competition is open to businesses across New Zealand. Much of the support provided in the prize package is based in Canterbury, so a willingness to have a base here is part of the judging criteria. 

My product doesn’t look “pretty” right now, but my customers love it. How will you judge unwrapped / rustic looking products?  

We are looking for products with great potential to disrupt their category. Tell us why your customers love this product, and how you think it will fit into a supermarket shelf. The business incubation process will help you turn your ugly duckling into a swan.  

My product is an alcoholic beverage – is that eligible for the competition? 

Yes, providing it meets the requirements of the New World Liquor Licence (Section 58 of the Sale of Liquor Act defines what types of alcohol beverages supermarkets can sell). 

I don’t have a proper manufacturing facility right now, is that a problem?  

No, not at all. Part of the business incubation process will be focused on ensuring you can manufacture enough product to meet demand from the 42 New World supermarkets. FoodSouth will be a large part of this process. Show us in your business plan your ideas to grow your business to this scale.


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