The search for New Zealand’s most innovative and promising food and beverage start-up is underway.

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 $95,000. 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 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 Worlds across the South Island and that's 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 and it's 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 $95,000 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 Blinc Innovation and AwesomeHQ where you'll love the surroundings and constant opportunities for collaboration with other like-minded entrepreneurs. 

Specialist Support

Provided by Foodsouth who are expert food and beverage product development, amrket analysis, and helping you to grow your business and make connections. 

Design and Marketing Genius

Provided by Strategy Creative.

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 10 September and close at 11:59pm on Sunday, 7 October 2018 



Click here and find out about the competition criteria

Entries close 


Entries Close at 11.59pm

The Final Cut


After close scrutiny by our expert panel, the Top 5 shortlisted entries will be announced

Pressure Cooker


The Top 5 finalists present to our judging panel in Christchurch with the winner announced on the night.


Early 2019

The winner gets started in the business acceleration programme.

Off to Market

Spring 2019

Your winning product hits New World shelves across the South Island!

The Judging Criteria

Sell us your product!

We 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 Exective 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  

Ministry of Awesome is the starting point for entrepreneurs, startups, and innovators in Christchurch. They deliver the support, guidance, capability training, and networks that entrepreneurs need to succeed.

Joanna Norris

Chief Executive of ChristchurchNZ  

Joanna Norris is the Chief Executive of ChristchurchNZ, the new economic development and city profile agency charged with igniting bold ambition for Õtautahi Christchurch. 

John Morgan

Manager of Food NZ Innovation Network South Island 

John Morgan is the Manager of the Food NZ Innovation Network in the South Island which is part of a national food and beverage export growth initiative.

Toni Laming

Chief Executive of Blinc Innovation 

Toni is CEO of Blinc, He Puna KariKari, a connector and facilitator of agribusiness and food innovation, based at Lincoln’s agrifood science and technology innovation hub.  


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.

Contact Us:

Email us at: info@foodstarter.co.nz

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