Maui Food and Dining

Six Maui Companies are Finalists in 2017 Taste Awards

May 3, 2017, 1:30 PM HST
* Updated May 3, 1:32 PM
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Six Maui-based companies were recognized by the Hawaiʻi Food Manufacturer Association for their achievements within the state’s local food manufacturing industry as finalists in the 2017 Taste Awards.

HFMA received more than 80 nominations in eight categories. Of the 36 finalists, six Maui companies are finalists in five categories. They are:

University Hawaiʻi, Maui: The Maui Food Innovation Center was nominated for “Advocate of the Year.” Photo Courtesy

University Hawaiʻi, Maui: The Maui Food Innovation Center for “Advocate of the Year”

MFIC is a business incubator designed to support local food producers through education and training, business incubation services, and research and development of food products. MFIC helps farmers and food manufacturers by increasing profitability through the development of new value-added food products, reducing dependence on imports and contributing to the sustainability of island-based agriculture.

Maui Gold™ Pineapple Company for “Manufacturer of the Year, Large Company”

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Locally owned and operated, Maui Gold Pineapple Company was created by former Maui Pineapple Company employees who were committed to saving the 100-year tradition of pineapple on Maui while keeping large parcels of agricultural lands productive and managed and a range of agriculture industry jobs for Maui residents. As skilled local farmers, they have been cultivating the Maui Gold™ variety for more than 25 years.

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Maui Raw for “Startup Manufacturer of the Year”

Since 2014, Maui Raw has produced a variety of healthy spreads and snacks that are fun and innovative, breaking a long-standing belief that indulgent foods are guilty pleasures. Maui Raw takes great pride in that all their products such as their Spread Aloha Cultured Macadamia Nut Spreads, Mac Nosh Crackers and Nori Nosh Crisps, use locally sourced Waiheʻe Valley Macadamia Nuts as well as local organic herbs and vegetables from Kumu Farms and Okoʻa Farms.

Maui Fruit Jewels for “Startup Manufacturer of the Year and Product of the Year”

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A finalist in two categories, Maui Fruit Jewels develops specialty fruit candies and fruit pastes using exclusively locally-grown fruits. It also incorporates MauiWine, herbs and spices such as noni, turmeric, ginger and Hawaiian chili pepper into its candies. All products are free of preservatives, food colors and added food flavors. Hawaiʻi Fruit Pastes pair wonderfully with gourmet cheese and crackers, in keeping with European traditions. Its Exotic Fruit Jelly, inspired by the French confection pates de fruits, is a finalist in the Product of the Year category. Maui Fruit Jewel’s commercial kitchen is set-up in Wailuku with custom-built packaging machines.

Maui Nui Venison by Makaweli Ranch for “Supplier of the Year”

Maui Nui Venison is sourced from truly wild axis deer that roam unrestricted their entire lives. The deer are truly free until the moment they are harvested under strict USDA inspection. The company strives to help manage this invasive species while providing sustainable products for the community. Maui Nui Venison is processed and supplied by Makaweli Meat Company who is dedicated to providing premium, 100% natural free-range meats.

Rimfire Imports for “Supplier of the Year”

Rimfire Imports began its operations on Maui in November 1984 as a specialty food distributor and wholesaler. The goal of the company is to fill an expanding need for gourmet specialty foods statewide. It established a growing market on Maui in 1986 expanding to Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Lānaʻi and Hawaiʻi islands.

Winners will be announced at the Taste Awards on Saturday, May 20, inside the Pōmaikaʻi Ballrooms at Dole Cannery in Honolulu.

“It’s important to spotlight the finalists from our island home to acknowledge their hard work, innovation, success and commitment to creating local jobs and products that help sustain our economy,” says Paula Hegele, president of MauiWine and a member of HFMA’s board of directors. “Their achievements benefit our entire community and hopefully encourages others to pursue business ideas.”

For information on purchasing table sponsorship or individual tickets, please visit here or contact Jenny Lee at (808) 380-2608.

Click here for a full list of the finalists.

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