The Spirit of Innovation Awards recognize exceptional, innovative product development teams for their work on exciting new products. The awards are based on Prepared Foods' and Ventura Foods' fierce commitment to the concept that innovation is one part pioneering ideas and one part inspirational teamwork. Categories for the 2005 Spirit of Innovation Awards are foods for sale in retail (grocery) stores and prepared foods for sale to foodservice operations.

A Prepared Foods panel will review nominated products, judging each on the following criteria (Judges rely heavily upon the written nomination forms to detail the coordination and teamwork efforts involved in the creation, planning and launch of the product.):

  • The obvious need for coordination among several of a company's departments and vendors, as seen in the complexity of a product and as explained in the product's nomination form,

  • Ingenuity of the product's concept (which also may include packaging elements),

  • Sensory quality of the food or beverage,

  • The commercial launch of the product into the retail or foodservice distribution channel, and

  • Willingness of the company to work with Prepared Foods in regards to editorial efforts and attendance at the magazine's 2005 New Products Conference.

The award includes a donation of $2,500 to a university chosen by the winner. The winners receive free registration and accommodations to attend Prepared Foods' New Products Conference, where they will receive their Ventura Foods'-sponsored award during an awards dinner. Brief presentations also will be made on the challenges and triumphs experienced during the products' development.

Winners will serve as an example of team efforts in the development of foods and beverages introduced in the marketplace in 2004 through the middle of 2005.

Nominations for the 2005 Spirit of Innovation Awards may be submitted by a company, or by a vendor on its behalf. Entry forms and further details may be found on the Spirit of Innovation section of Prepared Foods' website: