SpotLight on New Zealand's harvest basket of quality produce.
By Sarah Muxlow ~ exclusive for 4Hoteliers.com
Wednesday, 19th April 2006
The land of the long white cloud, has been known for many years for it's lamb. Now more than ever, the Southern Hemisphere Islands are competing on the world stage to grow a greater range of premium products. Whether tasting pinot noir or blue cheese, there is a consistency in distinct bold tastes.

Being an Island of good climate and natural resources, New Zealand appeals to mass farmers as well as boutique/specialty goods producers.

In response, local restaurateurs, coffee shop owners and hoteliers appreciate the pick of the crop at local harvest time. Menus reflect the passion for local home-grown, reared, caught and produced crops, meat, seafood and condiments.

According to the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, "the food and beverage sector accounts for 10 per cent of the country's gross domestic product and involves more than 30,000 companies. »

Whilst moving with the times means using the latest technologies, methods and research, the landscape is unspoilt and the big push is to remain environmentally friendly. Drawing on natural resources where possible, producers and farmers aim to achieve even better quality results each harvest and season. At the same time, systems and processes are being monitored to protect the country's unique environment.

Typical to New Zealand, are vigorous checks, this country is serious about protecting their ecosystems and sustaining the good reputation of the agricultural industry.

Duck Farming

Take for example, Duck. It has recently become a popular meat and prompted farmers to increase numbers to meet this latest consumer trends. However, farming ducks is a delicate business in today's bird rearing environment. The Gameford Lodge Duck Farm New Zealand is a biosecurity zone, a typical measure taken to protect the birds. There is no possibility of the birds being exposed unnecessarily to harmful bugs. This is not a direct measure taken because of bird flu, it is an on going measure taken to encourage healthier birds, which will in tern grow well.  

According to Helen Syron of Gamford Lodge, the business of rearing birds is a numbers game. Cost control and producing just the right number, is essential. The growing interest in duck has also meant taking a closer look at how the birds are prepared for sale. Chef's have many different ways to cook and prepare the bird and want a range of cuts. Many Chefs relocating from overseas have influenced the duck trend, as has the increase in Chinese and other immigrants, for whom duck is an important part of their part of their cuisine. New Zealand chefs returning from time overseas are also insisting on new and fresh ideas.


New Zealand cheese production is also growing in reputation and competition on the home and international front. Over 500 locally produced varieties of cheese were entered for judging, at the Cuisine Champion of Champions Award 2006. Whitestone Windsor Blue, made by Oamaru cheese company, was crowned Champion Cheese and the Award for New Zealand's favourite went to Puhoi Valley Camembert, for the third year in a row. 

Whitestone Windsor Blue has a long history of success as an export cheese. It is described by judges to be a "creamy blue with a golden soft buttery texture and a silky smooth mouthfeel. It has a unique blue culture that dissects the rich curd and combines to produce a delicate deep flavour which intensifies with ageing." 


On the side of the snow topped mountains and surrounding lakes, is an extensive patchwork quilt of vineyards. .The aim of local wine growers/producers is simple: produce more quality wine. With this as an on going industry commitment, New Zealand's wine industry is predicted to continue to perform well offshore.

"Five New Zealand wine producers were listed in the top 100 wineries worldwide at this year's London Wine and Spirits Fair. New Zealand wineries also scooped up 15 gold medals at the 2005 International Wine Challenge in London, the only still wine producing country to increase its gold medal count." States Rod MacKenzie, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) Group General Manager Food and Beverage.

New Zealand is a Pinot Noir producing country. For many, the Pinot Noir is the most fickle but fascinating grape. This country has the world's most southern wine producing region ‘Central Otago'. It could be described as "continental" with summers that are hot and dry, and crisp and snowy winters. The conditions here are ideal for producing high quality Pinot Noir and Riesling wines. With an increasing worldwide demand for lighter, fresher styles in food and wine, the Pinot Noir provides even greater opportunities for the future.

However, Marlborough is New Zealand's wine capital. It produces over half the country's wine and an even bigger portion of exported wine. The speciality from this region is Sauvignon Blanc, with some Chardonnay and Riesling and Pinot Noir.

Many a vineyard expands it's business beyond the growing of grapes and producing of wines to having large cellar tasting rooms, tours of the grounds and restaurants. Dining in vineyard owned restaurants is not overly formal but elegant. Service is professional, knowledge of their own cellar impeccable (as expected) and such picturesque settings offers an opportunity to seriously sample for anyone serious about knowing more about New Zealand food and wine. The menus offer a selection of local specialities such as pates served with chutneys or preserves all of which are perfectly accompanied by a selection of wines to appreciate.


The restaurant and café industry provides work for about 64 340 people. This is 3.8% of the total workforce in New Zealand. The average total sales by restaurants, coffee shops and hotels is over $9 million per day and the food and beverage services are vital to the overall tourism industry in New Zealand.

The greatest challenge in the hospitality industry in New Zealand is finding sufficient skilled staff. As the Restaurant Association Education Trust chairman Tony Adcock says "all successful businesses relies on investment in their staff for continued growth… and the hospitality sector is no different." The trust provides grants and sponsorship for selected students of all ages to further their hospitality education at college. This is the association's way of giving back to the industry and encouraging exactly what this labour intensive industry needs most: People who can do.

SpotLight is the weekly column exclusively written for 4Hoteliers.com by Sarah Muxlow, it is highlighting the challenges and issues which the global hospitality is facing today.

Sarah is writing for hotel and restaurant owners, hotel chain managers, producers/growers/sellers of food & beverage, restaurant associations, governing bodies and hotel schools. She is looking at the problems they face...competition, trends of branding, staff shortages, unskilled staff, turning out students who are looking for good in-house management training schemes with hotel chains, what makes a good quality training course at a hotel school and more... 

...[Click for More]
 Latest News  (Click title to read article)

 Latest Articles  (Click title to read)

 Most Read Articles  (Click title to read)

~ Important Notice ~
Articles appearing on 4Hoteliers contain copyright material. They are meant for your personal use and may not be reproduced or redistributed. While 4Hoteliers makes every effort to ensure accuracy, we can not be held responsible for the content nor the views expressed, which may not necessarily be those of either the original author or 4Hoteliers or its agents.
© Copyright 4Hoteliers 2001-2024 ~ unless stated otherwise, all rights reserved.
You can read more about 4Hoteliers and our company here
Use of this web site is subject to our
terms & conditions of service and privacy policy