What: Awards for new foods, beverages at retail, foodservice, alternative channels
Elgibility: Products introduced from January 2015 to March 2016
How: Enter online at
Deadline: Friday, June 3, 2016
Awards: Winners named in mid-June, honored at New Products Conference, Sept. 25-28.

You like product improvements. We do too! In fact, Prepared Foods and Ventura Foods proudly announce several new features to 2016 Spirit of Innovation Awards. This 12th annual contest recognizes food and beverage manufacturers’ product development teams for their collaborative work on innovative new entries.

Rather than simply acknowledge the top three finishers in two categories (retail, foodservice), this year’s competition breaks with the past and honors six first-place honorees in six categories.

They are as follows…

Best New Product - Retail Food: Most interesting, unique new retail offering (product line or individual SKU)

Best New Product - Retail Beverage: Most interesting, unique new retail offering (product line or individual SKU)

Best New Product - Foodservice / Front of the House: Most interesting, unique new prepared offering addressing restaurant patrons’ taste trends and other food preferences.

Best New Product - Foodservice / Back of the House: Most interesting, unique new prepared offering that addresses trends and helps operators reduce cost, labor, time, etc.

Best New Product - Alternative Channel: Best new food / beverage developed specifically for in-store bakery, in-store deli or convenience store channel operators.

Most Disruptive / Interesting New Product (Retail or Foodservice): Editors’ choice of the most “disruptive” and new-to-category product (food or beverage / retail or foodservice).

To be elgible, product(s) must have been introduced between January 2015 and March 2016. Manufacturers, ingredient suppliers and agency representatives may nominate multiple items at but submissions are only for one product per category.

What makes the Spirit of Innovation awards unique is that they honor product R&D teams’ multi-functional collaboration to identify and address market opportunities. Please tell us how and why this product addresses a market need as well as how team members worked together to address and solve internal challenges.

Products will be evaluated on an initial 10-point grading scale according to its originality, demonstrated teamwork and demonstrated sales success. Prepared Foods staff will evaluate all submissions and seek additional input from chief editors of sister BNP Media titles: Beverage Industry, Dairy Foods, National Provisioner (meat/poultry/seafood), Snack&Wholesale Bakery, Candy Industry, Refrigerated & Frozen Foods and Industria Alimenticia. Related titles include Brand Packaging, Flexible Packaging and Packaging Strategies.

Prepared Foods and Ventura Foods will honor six manufacturers during Prepared Foods’ annual New Products Conference, Sept. 25-28, at the Naples Grand, Naples, Fla. Winners must be willing to attend and send product(s) to be sampled during an awards ceremony and reception.