New Zealand produces enough food to feed 160 million people. Given the country's population is about 4 million, this creates quite the surplus of fresh food. Unlike the United States, growing GMO is illegal (including corn, wheat and soy!) and given the surplus of food there is less demand for farmers to genetically modify crops to turn them over faster anyways.
Aside from the lack of true incentive to destroy the genetic composition of food for years to come, New Zealand also has a genuine care for the common good. Even small things like fresh water fountains to refill your bottle are all around the country (and even the airport). So rather than charge $8 for a bottle of water, you can get it for free yourself.
This mentality of looking out for the greater good and individual needs outweighs the greedy desire to make a quick buck. The quality of the produce in NZ reflects this culture and makes for a happy and healthy population of Kiwi's.
Their average life span is 81 years old (compared to 78 in the US). The number one cancer rate in NZ is lung cancer followed by bowel cancer. I found this interesting given how few people I saw smoking in NZ but it just goes to show how food is a lesser cause of health ailments in the country. Bowel cancer is caused by excess red meat and dairy which is very common in NZ given the vast farmland.
While their meat and dairy is quite possibly the best in world (grass-fed, free range, etc) it just goes to show those items still cannot be eaten in large amounts, if at all. I think in small amounts, many people are ok eating most high quality animal products (I am just not one of them).
New Zealand has so many healthy restaurants geared towards vegan and gluten free eaters (depending on where you go, of course). Even the restaurants that are not specifically geared towards specific dietary needs have fresh veggies and gluten free options anyways. Every single restaurant we walked into had great food.
I am a freak about doing research before going places - in that I usually wont go anywhere without vetting it - so this was a wonderful surprise when we dined out randomly. And yes, this makes traveling with me interesting if you aren't on the same band wagon. Thank god Kyle is so cool. Anyways, there is one thing you can count on in NZ's North Island and that is the food will be real. What a new and crazy concept!
Oh and by the way, this is what real butter looks like: