The Spirit of Innovation Awards recognize and celebrate exceptional 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 2004 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:

  • The obvious need for coordination among several of a company's departments and vendors, as evidenced by the complexity of a product,

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

  • Sensory quality of the food or beverage,

  • The completed commercial launch of the product into the retail or foodservice distribution channel between January 2003 to the application deadline on June 4, 2004, and,

  • Willingness of the company to work with Prepared Foods in regards to editorial efforts and 2004 New Products Conference attendance activities.

The award includes a donation of $2,500 to a university chosen by the winner. Each winning team receives one free registration and accommodations to 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 during the products' development.

Nominations for the 2004 Spirit of Innovation Awards can be submitted by a company or a vendor on its behalf. Entry forms and further details may be found on the Spirit of Innovation section of Prepared Foods'. Visit and click on "Spirit of Innovation" on the left menu.