Monday, November 20, 2017

Media Coverage

Aria Farm, Winners at the New Zealand Food Awards

Aria Farm are winners of the Rabobank Business Innovation Award 2012


Judges Comments from Awards Evening

For the Rabobank Business Innovation Award, Aria Farms stood out in this Category. They collaborate closely with all parties in the value chain in the development of their food, to meet demands of health, quality and consistency in the development of their innovative packaging design, which features prominently in supermarkets and upright freezers.

At the same time, Aria Farm have embraced the “Lean Manufacturing” concept – dubbed ACI or “Aria Farm Continuous Improvement”, that has achieved efficiencies in labour, product and packaging waste, whilst keeping their product specification correct 100% of the time.

Aria Farm is an excellent example of a food company using innovative strategies to build a successful business in a very competitive market.

Hamish Midgley
Rabobank Judges Comments from Awards Evening


New Zealand Food Awards 2012 - Finalist

Aria Farm Ltd are proud to announce they are finalists in 2 categories at the New Zealand Food Awards 2012.

The Rabobank Business Innovation Award and the KPMG Export Award.

The products being recognised are Woolworths Select Vegetable and Beef and Vegetable and Lamb Stir Fry.

New Zealand Food Awards are where the companies and people behind the very best in our largest export sector are recognised for their creativity and business acumen.

From a record number of 102 entries, 43 finalists were selected across 13 categories. The supreme winner will be announced at the NZ Food Awards Gala Dinner to be held at the Langham Hotel in Auckland on Thursday October 27.

The awards gala dinner is an opportunity to reward excellence in New Zealand food and beverage production and manufacturing, and to highlight the creative work of our product innovators in the areas of packaging design, nutrition, enterprise, food safety and products.


NZIFST Food Industry Award for Excellence in Innovation

Aria Farm are pleased to announce

NZIFST Food Industry Award for Excellence in Innovation - Runner-up: Mr Erik Arndt, Aria Farm, Hamilton. Presented at the Claudelands Events Centre in Hamilton June 27th 2012.

The NZIFST Food Industry Excellence Awards focus on HUMAN EXCELLENCE in each of four categories, SERVICE & SUPPLY, ECO-EFFICIENCY, INNOVATION AND LEADERSHIP. The human performance is in line with our Institute being the foremost professional organisation for New Zealand Food Industry People. This focus also allows ready distinction from other food industry awards that focus on outcomes rather than the human factor.

This award acknowledges exceptional individual or group performance that enabled a recent and significant food industry innovation. The awards recognises human excellence in effecting innovation, and not the innovation per se. Examples of qualifying innovations are new-to-the organisation developments in product, technology, business approach, marketing or any other activities that work towards superior delivery of value in a food industry operation.

Mr Erik Arndt, Aria Farm, Hamilton

Erik Arndt is the CEO and a director for the food manufacturing company Aria Farm Ltd which he co-founded with his wife Anna in 1998. In late 2009 and early 2010 Erik spent months researching and developing a new product which combines a similar meat strip to the original Aria Farm strips with vegetables to make a ready-made frozen lamb, beef or chicken stir-fry. The major technical challenge was developing a meat product that would cook quickly from frozen and in the same time as frozen vegetables and retain its crispiness.

Judges’ comments

Mr Arndt led a team that developed a free-flow, frozen, ready-to-cook stir fry product comprising 33%meat and 67% vegetables. This would appear to be a world first. The application shows good evidence of original thinking, market research, resolution of technical challenges, determination and results.


Judged Best Convenience Meal



Per 250g serve: 810kj, 16.3g protein, 7.3g fat, 4.3g saturated fat, 315mg sodium 1kg pack $6.99

The Judges said

"This all in one product is super convenient. A great option to feed a family when you are really in a hurry. Serve with quick rice or couscous.”

The team at Aria Farm are passionate about producing healthy convenience foods, so we are excited to be recognized by Healthy Food Guide for this award in 2011.

How the awards was judged

Healthy Food Guide readers were asked to nominate their top products in all categories. From these nominations we identified the most popular products to be considered for finalist status. We then compared the nominated products to our nutrition criteria in each category. Products which met our criteria were considered finalists and put forward for judging. All awards were judged on a combination of these:

Nutrition profile:

Our nutritionists looked at nutrition information and compared all products with our criteria for the relevant category and compared them to their ‘peers’. Our winners are selected from the ‘best in class.’

Value for money:

We compared prices to decide ‘is it a good-value purchase?’ Our winners aren’t always the cheapest option, but in combination with the other criteria we think they represent good value.


Here’s where we looked for the ‘x-factor’ and asked ‘is it unique, different, special?’ Our winners all display a degree of innovation.


We conducted taste tests with our expert panel and reader groups to answer the question: ‘does it taste great and have wide appeal?’ Our winners all have this in common.


Pams Vege & Chicken Stirfry

Pams Vege & Chicken Stirfry has been in the spotlight not once but twice this month.

Firstly featuring in the June Edition of the ‘New Zealand Healthy Food Guide’. It is featured under the ‘Things We Love” page with a fantastic little writeup towards the product which reads :

‘Pams Vege & Chicken Stirfry is an excellent emergency standby to have in the freezer. The chicken and veges are all in the pack, which you cook from frozen. Add your own flavourings and extras and dinners n the table in 10 minutes $ 7.99, www.’


Our other very exciting news is the Pams Vege & Chicken Stirfry won a GOLD PACKAGING AWARD at the recent 2011 Pride in Print Awards

JUDGES COMMENTS "Good print job, nice densities and great use of process, red and green to enhance colours

Customer comment from Rosanne Wickham: “it tastes like Gold too”

Meat and veg from freezer to the plate


By FELICITY WOLFE - Waikato Times

Food technologist Erik Arndt admits combining meat and vegetables in a frozen form is "a bit left field".

The director of Waikato-based Aria Farms says he came up with the idea to combine the two food groups as a form of fast food.

The company he runs with his wife Anna celebrates a decade in business this year and the ready-to-cook frozen stir-fry is their latest venture.

They have also introduced a bolognese flavoured mince with tomato and basil.

The couple farmed sheep and beef for 25 years before starting Aria Farms in 2000, when Erik combined his then new vocation as a food technician with his farming experience to come up with beef and lamb "chips".

They came up with the freezer to plate in 10 minutes concept after realising people were buying fast foods because they were too busy or too tired to chop, slice and cook a healthy dinner. "Many families now have both parents working," Mr Arndt said.

"They need something quick."

The beef and lamb chip recipe has been tweaked over the last 10 years and a short foray into the British market in 2003 led to a name change from "chips" to "strips".

Mr Arndt said the deal which was supposed to go through with Sainsbury's taught them a few things about the important things in life. The deal meant they would look to manufacture the strips in Wales and Mr Arndt found himself travelling to Britain and spending hours on the phone organising. He called off the multimillion-dollar deal as constant travel took a toll on family life.

"It came to the point that we would have had to move over there," Mr Arndt said. "It was a decision of where we wanted to live and bring up our children." So they remained in the Waikato and looked to diversify their range for the New Zealand market. In line with the couple's belief in the dual importance of nutrition and convenience, the strips contain 97 per cent meat, with added vitamin C to aid iron absorption, calcium to strengthen bones and a seaweed extract to help digestion.

The new products follow the same formula, with the Aria team developing new ways to prevent meat and vegetables "clumping".

The stir-fry vegetables are sourced from Hawke's Bay, frozen and mixed with Aria Farms' meat strips before being packaged and marketed by Foodstuffs in-house brand, Pams.

That had taken a lot of the pressure off developing not just a new product but a new category of convenience food, Mrs Arndt said.

The meat and vege mix was novel but she said because the vegetables were snap-frozen soon after harvest, they retained more nutrients than those sold as "fresh" but then stored in the refrigerator.

"Research on [meat and vegetables] ... frozen at the peak of their goodness shows it stays at that peak," Mrs Arndt said. To keep the products in prime condition, Aria Farm had upgraded its packaging to an air and water-tight laminate.

See the original Article on the

Gluten Free and Allergy Show a Success.

The Gluten and Allergy show held in Auckland over the weekend was excellent. There was an abundance of food stands demonstrating and selling all manner of foods, both sweet and savoury. Foods such as pretzels, savoury pies, sausage rolls, breads, cake mixes, organic meat and veg, and even beer. With all the nibbles and tastings I had as I wandered round meant lunch wasn't needed until about 3pm.
There are so many cottage industry companies creating lovely food and drinks for people with allergies, it really surprised me. With the awareness growing, that can only mean success for them.


Newsletter Archive

March 2011

January 2011

August 2010

June 2010

April 2010

November 2009

August 2009

May 2009

February 2009

November 2008

September 2008

August 2008

June 2008

May 2008

April 2008

March 2008

February 2008

December 2007

November 2007

August 2007 

Meat with Convenience

Click here to read our aricle in FMCG magazine April 2005

FMCG is Fast Moving Consumer Goods Magazine. "Meat with Convenience" - which discusses current trends in the NZ Meat market and how Aria Farm fulfils these

Meat International Magazine

Click here to read our article in Meat international magazine 2005 Vol 15 No 1
A brief history and comments from Aria Farm

Teach your kids to cook…

ImageAria Farm takes lead role in the battle for family health

Urgent calls from government agencies and family welfare organisations for more work to be done with regard to obesity in children has prompted a Waikato food manufacturer to take a leading role in the battle for health.

Aria Farm director Anna Arndt says an important a first step to healthy generations of Kiwi families is to teach kids to cook.


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