Innovation and Passion at this Year’s PITCHme

After a hard job whittling a fantastic and varied group of video entries down, 11 finalists took part in showcasing their products to a panel of expert judges for PITCHme 2022.

PITCHme is an exciting initiative from Review Publishing that opens lines of communication between small, large, and artisanal producers and respective buying groups. The COVID-19 pandemic has ignited a surge of innovation as businesses pivot and look for ways to stand out from the crowd and the panel was excited to see what innovation New Zealand producers had to show them.

Louise Mitchell, NPD

This year’s PITCHme panel was made up of experienced industry leaders from across multiple sectors, all with expert knowledge in food and beverage.

Jon Hassall, Chief Operating Officer at Café Brands Limited (Columbus Coffee, Mexico, YLC), Sabrina Matai’a, General Manager Operations for Libelle Group, David Allott, General Manager of Hospitality for Sky City Auckland, Lou Mitchell, Category Manger for NPD Retail Ltd, Andrew Gibson, Ryman Healthcare, and Danielle Lendich, CEO of Wendy’s NZ.

“It was great to see such an array of fantastic initiatives all of which have been developed here in New Zealand. Hearing the background stories around how these products came to life was inspiring,” commented Mitchell.

I wish all the participants the very best for their future growth and the development of their brands.It was lovely to meet the rest of the panel and be involved in this experience.”

Danielle Lendich, Wendy's NZ

Lendich, who has been a part of PITCHme in previous years, added that it was great to see such a variety of products presented this year.

“I was very impressed with how well some of these companies are doing and the path to success that they are already on.  It was great to be able to offer some outside advice to help these great products be successful or more successful.”

Andrew Gibson from Ryman said he really enjoyed being involved as a panelist for PITCHme 2022.

Andrew Gibson, Ryman

“There were so many great entries. All of the finalists’ pitches were compelling and interesting. It was refreshing to see that even though there have been challenges over the last few years, that innovation is alive and well in New Zealand food and food-related businesses. I was impressed by the enthusiasm shown by all of the finalists, the number of good ideas, and the level of detail and thought that went into where to position their products in the market. 

Not only did the finalists understand the problem they were trying to solve, but they had created great products – the idea is the easy part, but creating new products is difficult. I commend all of the finalists for their enthusiasm, tenacity, courage, and desire to make the world a better place in their own way.”

The PITCHme 2022 finalists were: Bloom's Pretzels, The Family Kitchen, Fine People Ltd, The Good Change Store, Naked Nectar, Secret Kiwi Kitchen, The Nut Baron, Innerbloom, House of Dumplings, Blue Mountain Buthcery, and Baxter's Original. 

Congratulations to each of them for making it through. Each finalist received valuable feedback from the panel and connections were made throughout different sectors. The team at PITCHme wish each finalist the very best with their future endeavours.

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