Waitoa wins Buy NZ Made Hero Award

Waitoa free range chicken is the latest New Zealand company to win the Buy NZ Made campaign's monthly Hero Award for February.

The 'Heroes' programme is a new initiative by the Buy NZ Made campaign which identifies companies excelling in the promotion of their NZ Made status who have also excelled in several other key commercial areas.

Waitoa has a dedicated team of poultry farmers working throughout the Waikato region producing high quality free-range chicken. We have become one of the country's most successful free range providers, blending care, innovation and best practice to produce some startling results.

Waitoa's Marketing Manager, Allister Bathgate, says the Waitoa's success is down to a combination of consumer awareness and demand for quality home produce.

"There's no question now that conscious consumption is driving growth," he explained. "Consumers are looking for accredited suppliers with provenance in Free Range. Waitoa is SPCA blue tick approved and concentrates on high animal welfare standards and the blue tick is NZ’s only 100% independent accreditation scheme for animal welfare."

Animal welfare is growing in importance to discerning New Zealand buyers - a trend being witnessed across many food categories.  

The recent joint Horticulture New Zealand and Consumer NZ survey found 71 percent of New Zealanders wanted country of origin labelling on fresh, tinned and frozen fruit and veggies and 70 percent wanted to buy home grown.

"It's more than that," added Bathgate. "Consumers want to know where everything comes from including their meat and of course they are interested in the unique characteristics of land, farm or farmer. Waitoa production is vertically integrated and we control everything from the breeding chickens, eggs, feed etc.

"Every step of the way we manage in a sustainable manner and we reinforce this in our communication. Our chickens are grown in the green sunny valleys of the Waikato and we reinforce this message at all touch points, we feel it adds to the quality perception and reinforces provenance."

Winning this award automatically enters Waitoa into the annual competition where all 12 monthly winners will be voted on by the public for the Ultimate Hero Award. 

Read more about the award on the Buy NZ Made website.