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An impressive commitment to product development and innovation has seen fruit and vegetable manufacturer Cedenco Foods New Zealand named as ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay ASB Exporter of the Year.

The Gisborne-based business was presented with the award by the Head of Trade Finance at ASB Bank, Mike Atkins, at the sold-out awards dinner last Friday at the Napier Conference Centre. Earlier in the evening, Cedenco had won the inaugural T&G Global Best Medium to Large Exporter Award.

The judges said Cedenco (pictured) impressed them with their investment in market research, customer relationships, and R&D to get their product right for the customer.
“We liked the level of engagement across the wider team in developing the company vision, and the continuous improvement and commitment to innovation was genuinely impressive. The factory was well laid out and the effort that was put into health and safety stood out.”

Winner of the Tomoana Food Hub Innovation in Export Award was Hawke’s Bay’s Rock-it Boards, with the judges describing the business as one of the “unexpected highlights” of the awards. 
The Haumoana-based business, owned by Dave and Annie Evans, makes a wooden rocking board to improve strength and balance for all ages. The judges said the visit to the business was both thought-provoking and delightful.

“The simplicity of the design, coupled with the appeal of the product and the way in which the production process was being continuously improved, intrigued and impressed us – and it is not often that we get to see a category of product being invented.”
The winner of the ContainerCo Emerging Exporter wasWoodcut Tools, which stood out for its “relentless customer focus”. The Napier company makes tools for wood turners. The judges liked the attention to detail in the business and the opportunity for growth.

The Judges’ Choice Award was won by First Fresh. The judges said the Gisborne company was “snapping on the heels of the winner in their category”.
“We liked their focus on niche markets, with absolute clarity about how to prioritise markets for entry, and their investment in understanding their customers’ customers, all stood out as praiseworthy – we hope they will enter again.”

A new category for 2018, the Unsung Heroes Award, aimed at recognising the hard work put in behind the scenes of exporting organisations was shared by three people:
– Kellie Millar, Sales Co-Ordinator, Future Products Group
– Steve Young, Business Development Manager, Napier Port
– Mairead Hart, Finance Manager, Pultron Composites.

T&G Global’s CEO Gareth Edgecombe presented the Unsung Hero’s Awards and the Best Medium to Large Exporter Award.
“It was a true pleasure to present awards to Kellie, Steve and Mairead as acknowledgment of all they’re doing behind the scenes to contribute to the growth of their employing companies and the subsequent success of the wider region.
“Well done also to Cedenco for winning the T&G Global Best Medium to Large Exporter Award and the overall title, Hawke’s Bay Exporter of the Year. As a major exporter, we understand the complexities of delivering products on time and in optimum condition and the challenges and opportunities exporting presents.”

ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay Executive Officer Amanda Liddle said she was thrilled to see the success of Gisborne companies at the awards with this year being the first time they had been extended to the Gisborne Tairawhiti region. Ms Liddle said she hoped the move would encourage continuous improvement among exporters across both regions.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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