4 Maui companies Taste Awards finalists

Four Maui companies are finalists in the first Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association Taste Awards with winners to be announced June 14 at a gala reception on Oahu.

The awards, sponsored by the state Department of Agriculture, recognize individuals, companies and products “that have demonstrated exceptional performance, innovation and contribution to the manufacturing industry and to the community,” a news release said.

The finalist Maui companies are:

* Maui’s Winery, Product of the Year.

* Chic Naturals, Product of the Year and Start-up Manufacturer of the Year.

* Maui Gold Pineapple Co., Advocate of the Year, awarded to the company that has worked to bring awareness to the industry and to made-in-Hawaii products.

* Roselani Ice Cream, Community Service Award, presented to the company that made a contribution to improve the community through products and services and encourages active employee involvement in the community.

“We believe food manufacturing will be one of our state’s key economic drivers for decades to come,” said Richard Lim, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. “Hawaii’s food manufacturers will invest millions of dollars over the coming years into their businesses.”

According to data compiled by DBEDT, food is one of the largest manufacturing sectors, using local products in Hawaii, generating more than $900 million in annual revenue for the state’s economy, the news release said. HFMA’s member companies represent 30 percent of food manufacturers in the state, including Hawaii companies and household names, such as Hawaiian Host, Hawaiian Sun and Aloha Shoyu.

The Taste Awards gala reception will be held in the newly renovated Pomaika’i Ballrooms at Dole Cannery. The event will feature a “Battle of the Chefs,” where celebrity chefs will create signature dishes using locally manufactured products. Many locally made foods and drinks will be showcased as part of the evening’s festivities, the news release said.