Nalini Baruch, a pioneer in the New Zealand olive oil industry and co-owner of Lot Eight, arguably the leading producer of olive oil in the Greater Wellington Region, was awarded the 2016 Pacific Woman in Business Award at the National Pacific Business Trust Awards dinner in Auckland.

Nalini arrived in New Zealand in the 1980s from Fiji.  A graduate in Political Science and Law from Victoria University of Wellington, she entered the corporate world with the New Zealand Dairy Board, managing processed cheese production and working closely with the South East Asia and Middle East markets.  Following a period with Telecom New Zealand, Nalini practised as a barrister in Wellington before establishing Lot Eight in 2002.

Building on her knowledge of food production, experience in sales and marketing, and a rich heritage of a wide palate of foods, Nalini has steered the growth of Lot Eight to position the company as a leader in the New Zealand olive oil industry, and an artisan food producer brand and niche supplier to the food service sector.  The client base now extends throughout New Zealand and internationally.  Over the past five years Nalini has steadily developed an exclusive international brand that includes Michelin-star restaurants.

This award recognises Nalini’s vision and unwavering adherence to her own values of quality, customer and supplier commitment, integrity and professionalism.  That commitment extends to positioning Lot Eight as a valued, New Zealand owned and operated business, recognised as truly representative of what New Zealand offers on the world stage.  It goes beyond Lot Eight to include membership of ConversationNZ, joining with others in the food industry to explore what really is New Zealand cuisine – a marriage of diverse ethnic cuisines.

Nalini attributes the strong sustained growth of Lot Eight to her planned, close and genuine working relationships with the food service industry, and speciality retailers.  Continual reinvestment has established an enviable reputation for Lot Eight as a reliable brand, which stands out in the market with a fiercely loyal customer base.

Drawing on her heritage of a fusion of food experiences that began in the Pacific, Nalini has developed a varied palate of clean unique flavours, that now embrace other ethnic and regional cuisines.  Growing up in the Pacific gave Nalini the legacy of fresh clean produce, exciting ripe flavours and unique blends of basic ingredients.

The Pacific Business Trust Award also recognises Nalini’s intuitive and innovative approach in an unchartered and challenging market.  From only two extra virgin olive oils in 2002, her product range today includes unique cold pressed aromatic oils, bespoke customer blends and marinated olives.

From Wellington-centric beginnings, Lot Eight’s market share has grown significantly year on year.  The business has received awards both locally and internationally for its olive oil.  Food using Lot Eight’s products as ingredients, have also been recognised on the local and international stage.

This prestigious award now recognises Nalini’s commitment, passion, willingness to push boundaries, and her heritage of a childhood in the Pacific, which are at the core of Lot Eight and Nalini Baruch.

Nalini’s vision and commitment to Lot Eight is quality and originality, and developing the food products customers seek using only fresh produce, quality ingredients and unique combinations.

Lot Eight was also a finalist in the Innovation and Business Enterprise categories of this year’s National Pacific Business Trust Awards.