The annual Healthy Food Guide Awards honour the best healthy food products available across 16 categories.
Entries for the awards came from a wide range of food brands within the healthy food space. Each category was judged on how well products met a combination of factors:
- Nutrition profile First we check the nutrition information on each product meets Healthy Food Guide criteria, then we compare each product with others in its category.
- Value for money This doesn’t always mean the cheapest product, rather, we look for good value within a product’s category, taking all factors into account.
- Innovation The X-factor. We look at what is unique or creative about a product, pinpointing something it offers that other products don’t.
- Taste Our five judges taste test all the products to make sure all the winners are not just healthy but delicious too.
Look out for this award badge in supermarkets and food stores. Winning products have the option of including the badge on their product packaging, so you can spot them easily.
Meet the HFG judges
Jenny De Montalk
The Whole Mix Grab & Go Salad Range
These new salad mixes got a resounding thumbs-up from our judges. We’ve been waiting for a really tasty, nutritious salad range to hit New Zealand supermarkets, and now we have it. The range of nutrition meant there are options for a light meal up to a substantial dinner on the go. They tick convenience boxes and, more importantly, they’re bang on with taste.
Turk’s Butterflied Chicken – Sriracha Chilli & Lime
Turk’s have reduced the sodium on their seasoned butterflied chicken. The result? You can really taste the zingy lime in this delicious flavour combination.
Per 125g serve: 926kJ, 18.8g protein, 4.8g sat fat, 672mg sodium.
$16.99 for a 1.5kg chicken
The Whole Mix Sushi Salad
Crackers and snacks
Proper Crunch Corn Marlborough Sea Salt
A super crunchy version of popcorn. High in fibre and a delicious, slightly different snack for adults and kids.
Per 40g serve: 844kJ, 2.3g protein, 1.2g sat fat, 20g carbs, 4.4g fibre, 120mg sodium.
The Kvas Company Brod Ruby
A really different, light taste. We thought this was a nice change from kombucha or a sparkling drink.
Per 250ml serve: 160kJ, 6.5g carbs, 4.7g sugars.
$10.99 for a 1 litre bottle
Fresh To Go Vegan Layered Salad
Flavour-packed with lots of nice textures. We loved the crunchy chickpeas and there was just the right amount of dressing.
Crackers and snacks
Ryvita Pumpkin Seeds & Oats Rye Crispbread
A satisfying crunchy cracker that is an easy substitute for toast. The pumpkin seeds and oats also mean, with 4.4g fibre per 2 slices, it makes a filling light meal base.
Zeli Sauerkraut East Meets West
We loved the delicate, fragrant flavours of this sauerkraut. A great way to get probiotics.
Linda McCartney’s mozzarella ¼lb Burgers
A moist and tasty burger that even a hardy meat eater would love. A great texture and decent size.
Per burger: 992kJ, 17.8g protein, 1.9g sat fat, 10g carbs, 2.2g fibre, 424mg sodium
$7.50 for 2 burgers
Free from (allergy + gluten free)
Leggo’s Classic Tomato with Chunky Tomato & Herb Pasta Sauce (Low FODMAP)
Good to find a quick and simple low-FODMAP pasta option. You’ll find FODMAP groups listed on the label too.
Per 125g serve: 315kJ, 0.4g sat fat, 10.7g carbs, 2.4g fibre, 470mg sodium
$3.49 per 500g jar
New Zealand may be the home of dairy, but with only one entry this year in the Dairy category, we felt it unfair to present an award. Let’s hope that in 2020 we’ll be inundated with entries, because we know there are some great products out there.
The Whole Mix Super Salad
Packed with 15.9g protein per serve, this ready-to-go meal is a flavour and texture-packed option for vegetarians.
Waitoa Gluten Free Premium Chicken Fillet Burgers
Home St. by Bakeworks Sprouted Good Seed Pizza Bases
A delicious gluten-free pizza base that’s also got a good amount of fibre.
Harraways Easy Cook Oats
Simple, quick and convenient. Oats are a great breakfast choice and these instant oats have a delightful texture and taste. We really liked that these instant oats are now available in a bulk package, rather than individual sachets, and are so fast to prepare.
Per 40g serve: 604kJ, 5.6g protein, 21.7g carbs, 0.3g sugars, 4.8g fibre, 1mg sodium.
$1.48 for 280g bag
The New Zealand Quinoa Co. Natural Quinoa
Being a high protein, sustained release carbohydrate, quinoa is one of our favourite pantry staples. We throw a handful in with a pot of rice. We loved the yummy, slightly nutty flavour of this Kiwi-grown quinoa that’s a must for every pantry.
Per 100g: 1490kJ, 15.2g protein, 53.4g carb, 3.4g sugars, 7.9g fibre, <5mg sodium.
$7.95 for 400g
Chantal Organic Swiss Bircher Muesli
Chantal got a thumbs-up from us for producing a traditional Bircher muesli. It gets its sweetness from the fruit rather than piling on the sugar and the seeds and fruits can be tasted easily.
Little Bird Fig and Ginger Grawnola
This cereal is delicious, not too sweet and makes a great snack as well. Reading the fine print on the back, you’ll see the serve size is quite small. But with all that crunch, it really is a very filling, taste-packed cereal.
When cooked, this spaghetti is nice and soft despite being wholemeal. With a great nutty taste, the only thing missing is the amount of fibre on the nutrition information panel.
Kiwigarden Crunchy Apple Slices
Crisp dried apple slices that melt in the mouth and taste just like fresh apples. No added sugar means these are a great choice to pop in for the kids.
Per sachet: 149kJ, 7.1g carbs, 6.6g sugars, 1g fibre, 1mg sodium.
$4.99 for 5 x 9g sachets
Burgen Wholemeal and Seeds
Our favourite last year, and it keeps its crown this year. We think it’s still one of the best wholemeal breads on the market. And with 7.9g fibre in two slices, it’s a great way to fill up.
Per 2-slice serve: 906kJ, 12.5g protein, 20.2g carbs, 7.9g fibre, 299mg sodium
$3.50 per loaf
Jordans Low Sugar Granola Almond and Hazelnut
Proving you can make a really crunchy granola without loading up with sugar. We liked the traditional granola texture and flavours that Jordans have combined in this low sugar, low sodium, higher fibre cereal.
Per 45g serve: 824kJ, 5.0g protein, 1g sat fat, 28g carbs, 2.2g sugars, 3.3g fibre, 5mg sodium.
$8.49 for a 500g bag
Home St. By Bakeworks Sprouted Good Seed Buns
A wonderful gluten-free choice. And all those seeds mean not only are they packed with fibre, but they have a delicious nutty taste.
The Happy Snack Company Roasted Fa-va Beans Pizza Flavour
Crunchy and flavour-packed but still lower in sodium.
Sanitarium No Added Sugar or Salt Smooth (or Crunchy) Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a favourite of so many. It has become more than just a sandwich filling and now is an ingredient in many different recipes. Sanitarium has left out the sugar and salt, so just the natural taste of peanuts comes through in this versatile spread.
Viberi New Zealand Organic Blackcurrant Berries
These little frozen blackcurrants give incredible pops of flavour. We imagined a few stirred through a bowl of yoghurt or as a topping for a summer pav. They’re a lovely and tart swap for blueberries and give a big vitamin C hit.
Per 50g serve: 158kJ, 7.4g carbs, 7.4g sugars, 2.2g fibre, 98mg vitamin C
$7.99 for 350g
Wattie’s Steam Fresh Baby Peas, Broccoli and Edamame with Long Grain White and Wild Rice
Super convenient. We liked that there were more veges than rice, which means you can add a protein and make a complete meal. A brilliant, high-fibre solution to making a fast, healthy meal.
Per 220g sachet: 935kJ, 14.1g protein, 29g carbs, 6.6g sugars, 6.8g fibre, 25mg sodium
$6.00 for 2 x 220g serve sachets
Goodness Kitchen Organic Raspberries
We think fruit makes a great sweet treat or dessert. And the range of frozen fruit is growing, helping us have access to less common fruits. These delicate raspberries had a lovely fresh flavour, even eaten frozen.
Tot’s Pantry Chicken & Pumpkin Curry With Brown Rice
This lovely little meal for the youngest members in the family means there’s a convenient, healthy and tasty option when you need to give them a quick meal without compromise. This curry is mild and has a real home-cooked flavour.
NZ Natural Sparking Lime
A fresh, light sugar-free option to drink on a summer evening
Per 250ml serve: 5.5kJ, 0g carbs, 0g sugar, 9mg sodium.
$2.00 per 1 litre bottle
The New Zealand Quinoa Co. Natural Quinoa
We didn’t know you could grow quinoa in New Zealand. As it’s one of our pantry favourites, using a locally grown quinoa ticks the sustainability box by reducing food miles. Not only that but, as The New Zealand Quinoa Company explained, how they grow and harvest the quinoa means the soil isn’t intensively used and you get a high-value, high-taste product without as much toll on the land as other crops.
Per 100g serve: 1490kJ, 15.2g protein, 53.4g carb, 3.4g sugars, 7.9g fibre, <5mg sodium.
$7.95 for 400g
Dole Tropical Gold Pineapple
Dole ticked the box for us again this year by being part of the Rainforest Alliance Certification programme. We liked that this international programme looks at both environmental sustainability and fair trade for the farm workers on the plantations.
Recycle Recreate Bags
With the tag-line ‘bags not plastic’, we particularly liked the sandwich bags that are made from recycled and repurposed materials. They’re a good swap for plastic sandwich bags and we loved the designs as well as the more grown up recycled fabrics. Made in Canterbury, this kitchen-table business could have a big impact.
These mushroom growers are going to great lengths to make their production process more sustainable and environmentally friendly. From using compost sourced from local farms then redistributed to landscape gardeners after harvest, through to packaging research and development aimed at using up mushroom stalks, the team at Meadow Mushrooms are constantly looking at ways to improve their footprint. They’re not 100 per cent there yet, but their effort and ambition deserve recognition.
Health halos and hidden extras
Are you buying a product because the packaging makes it look like a healthy option? We uncover some surprises by looking past the ‘sell’ on the front of the packs.
‘Health Halo’ effect
Claims such as ‘organic’, ‘no refined sugar’ or ‘natural’ can make us assume a food is healthy. But the foods carrying these claims aren’t always what they seem. So, watch out for health halo words and remember, the nutrition information and ingredients list on the back of the pack are a more reliable
guide to how healthy a food really is.
Sat fat where we least expect it
Yum Creamy Apple & Chai Grain-Free Porridge
15.9g sat fat per 50g serve
In an average 8700kJ diet, we’re advised to have no more than 24g saturated fat each day, that’s about 6 teaspoons of saturated fat. A serve of this porridge has around 4 teaspoons of sat fat, or 70 per cent of an average day. Not so yum.
West Coast Cocoa Vanilla Chai
23.2g sugars per 25g serve
The World Health Organization strongly recommend we limit free sugars to less than 10 per cent of energy (kJ) and suggest limiting them to 5 per cent of energy would be better for health. So, in an average 8700kJ day, this means no more than 26g (at 5 per cent) or at the most 52g (at 10 per cent). The ingredients listed in order of weight are sugar (2 types), spices (4 types), flavours (2 types) and salt. We think there are better
drink choices than flavoured sugar.
When is garlic not ‘just garlic’?
Maybe when it’s actually only 97 per cent garlic.
MA Baker Party Mix Marshmallows “99% Fat Free”
They’re marshmallows. Boiled sweets, jelly snakes and marshmallows are made from sugar and little else. Why must we be told about what they don’t have, as if it makes them healthier?
Many manufacturers have worked hard to gradually reduce sodium in their foods, but some are lagging behind. We’re trying to keep our day’s intake down to a maximum of 2000mg of sodium and these products do not help:
Hansells All Natural Mexican Chicken & Tomato Soup
Obento Spicy Kung Pao Udon Noodle Bowl
2270mg sodium per serve. That’s more than we want in a day in one small (240g) meal.
Seasoned Foods Favourites Food Box, Thai Green Chicken Curry, Massaman Chicken Curry, Rice and Roti Breads
This one has the trifecta! An excess of kilojoules, sat fat and sodium. 4130kJ; 21g sat fat; 1865mg sodium per serve.