Ananda Simply Wholefoods has won FoodStarter 2019!

22 Nov 2019 14:16:00

FoodSouth are pleased to announce Ananda Simply Wholefoods has taken the top award in the second annual FoodStarter competition.

Ananda is a small producer of vegan sausages and patties, founded by Argentinian couple Fernando Gutierrez and his wife Marita Lopez 2.5 years ago.

The Italian influenced chili vegan sausage left the judges impressed with its texture and taste.

Ananda co-founder Fernando Gutierrez said barbecues were part of Kiwi culture but there were few options for good vegan produce that didn't smell or taste like meat.

"The common theme amongst our products is that they are to be shared. The sausages are pre-cooked so they are convenient and easy to bring and share at a barbecue, to bring people together," he said.

"In New Zealand, every time there is a social gathering there is a sausage and we wanted to bring a vegan option."

The Bambino Vegan sausage also took out top spot in the inaugural NZ Vegan Society Sausage Awards in June.

The goal of the FoodStarter competition was to identify the most innovative and promising food or beverage product in New Zealand and then help the winner to bring it to production.

The sausages are currently sold through farmers markets and selected retail outlets in Christchurch, as well as supplying several local restaurants.

The $75,000 business incubation prize package includes product development from FoodSouth, brand and design guidance from Strategy Advertising, business start-up incubation at Te Ōhaka - Centre for Growth & Innovation which is a partnership between Ara Institute and Ministry of Awesome, guidance from MYOB staff, and guaranteed placement of the winning product in all New World supermarkets across the South Island.

Ananada Simply Wholefoods' sausages were chosen after a month-long search that culminated in a pressure cooker event on Wednesday night.

At the event, the top five food innovators presented their products and business plans to a panel of experts.

Business Development Manager at FoodSouth and FoodStarter judge, Tracey Sheehy, said the Ananda sausages were "amazing".

"We’re seeing a groundswell of consumers adopting a more plant-based diet, and it’s evident they’ve refined their product to appeal to a broad range of consumers. The team at FoodSouth can’t wait to get started on helping bring this product to the masses.”

Other presenters included The Sheep Milk Supply Group with Baa2 and BaaBuzz sheep milk yoghurt, Good Puds with its plant-based probiotic pudding pots to improve gut health, Grater Goods with a plant-based pastrami and Porky and Pinkies vegan Kiwi Onion Dip.

Fellow judge Steve Anderson, chief executive of Foodstuffs South Island, said the quality of the products in the competition was stunning.

"It's exciting to see that all five of the entrants hit major consumer trends in plant-based proteins, getting back to basics with their ingredients and methodologies, and having truly authentic stories behind their businesses," he said.

Gutierrez said he was still in shock after the award but he was excited about being able to grow his business.

"I feel so proud. We always wanted to be in New World, it matched the profile of our customers, so this competition is exactly what we needed."

"That's when we thought, oh, we need to do something and finally we have a great product to be shared," he said.

FoodSouth are located in Canterbury, and have a range of equipment to help scale manufacture of food and beverage products from benchtop to commercial manufacture. Click here for more on FoodSouth.