National Restaurant Association  (NRA) officials honored seven companies with 2013 Food and Beverage Innovation awards (FABI). The annual new product competition “recognizes progressive food and beverage innovations that will make a significant impact in the restaurant industry,” says the association.
An independent panel of experts—representing a variety of commercial and non-commercial industry segments—selected FABI award recipients based on their products’ benefits to restaurant operators. NRA says items represent “high-marketability products designed to satisfy consumer trends, including lifestyles such as gluten-free, allergen-free, low-sodium, vegetarian, vegan or raw diets.”
“Food and beverage innovation helps drive customer satisfaction and profitability for restaurant operators,” adds Jeffrey W. Davis, 2013 NRA Show convention chairman and CEO of the United States Beef Corporation. “This year’s FABI awards recipients embody bold imagination with great potential to advance menu development and attract new customers. The NRA Show offers the perfect forum to explore trends and see new products that will shape the foodservice future—today.”

The 2013 FABI Awards recipients are:

pastries and coffee

Dawn Food Products: Taste-fills
Dawn, Jackson, Mich., describes Taste-fills as “freezer-to-fryer bakery bites” that come in six different filling flavors, with a miniature application that gives restaurants a flexible and convenient, high-quality dessert option to expand their menus.
Edison Grainery: Organic Quinoa Pasta
Edison, Emeryville, Calif., says this organic quinoa- and rice-flour blend is gluten-free and high in protein. “It helps restaurants satisfy dietary needs and keep pace with culinary trends, without sacrificing quality or taste.”
Hail Merry LLC: Merry’s Chocolate Miracle Mini Tart
Hail Merry, Dallas, says this mini-tart helps operators meet special diet restrictions, including gluten-free, vegan and kosher. The product features pure GMO-free ingredients, including a natural almond crust and organic virgin coconut oil.
Kiki’s Gluten-Free Foods, LLC: Kiki’s SpinachFeta Pockets
Kiki’s Gluten-Free, Arlington Heights, Ill., says this gluten-free SpinachFeta entrée delivers “excellent flavor and texture.” It comes with special packaging to help eliminate cross-contamination risk during preparation.
Nu-Tek Food Science: Salt for Life Sea Salt Blend
Nu-Tek Food Science, Minnetonka, Minn., says it uses a patented, single-crystal technology to create its Salt for Life Sea Salt Blend. Officials say the product delivers the true taste of salt with 70% less sodium than table salt, and operators can use it like regular salt as a one-to-one replacement in recipes.
Sinco Inc.: ItalCrust Ancient Grain Handstretched Woodfired Frozen Pizza Crust
An importer, Sinco, Belmont, Mass., says this premium, all-natural pizza crust is made with ancient grains, proofed for 24 hours, hand-stretched and wood-fired. It helps operators “tap into the highly popular ancient grains trend and capitalize on the crust’s bold flavor.”
Wagshal’s Imports: Fermin Ibérico de Bellota Smoked Panceta
Wagshal’s, Washington, D.C., says this high-end, artisanal pork is produced from the one-of-a-kind ibérico de bellota breed from Spain. The product is traditionally cured and hickory-smoked here in the U.S.