Don’t put away those New Years Eve party hats and noisemakers! There’s still more to celebrate.

Prepared Foods opened its free submissions platform for the annual Spirit of Innovation Awards. Since 2003, these distinctive awards have honored food and beverage PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT TEAMS for excellence in consumer insights, cross-functional execution and overall innovation.

This year’s program recognizes new foods or beverages—across all channels—introduced from January 2021 through March 2022. There’s no charge to submit nominations and Prepared Foods recognizes winners with news coverage in addition to an online, industry awards celebration event.

Food and beverage processors, public relations reps and ingredient suppliers are invited to nominate processors’ finished foods and drinks in one of five categories:

* New Retail Packaged Food

* New Retail Packaged Beverage

* New Foodservice Product / Front of House (addressing consumer trends)

* New Foodservice Product / Back of House (addressing operator needs)

* New Alternative Channel Product for In-store Bakery Deli or Convenience Store

Online submissions will be open through Friday, April 1, 2022.

*First-round submissions will be evaluated by Prepared Foods and editors at sister BNP Media publications including Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, Beverage Industry, Dairy Foods, Candy Industry, National Provisioner and Refrigerated & Frozen Foods. (April)

*Second-round finalists advance to a judged, professional product tasting and evaluation round (May). Afterward, winners will be announced and honored in a late summer awards ceremony.

Last year’s honorees included:

*Editor’s Choice / “Most Innovative”: Jack & Annie’s Crispy Jack Nuggets

*Best New Retail Food: Seemore Meats & Veggies La Dolce Beet-a Sausage

*Best New Retail Beverage: Patch Organics Pumpkin Seed Milk

*Best Foodservice Product / Front of House: Field Roast Signature Stadium Dog

*Best Foodservice Product / Back of House: King & Prince Battered Cod

* Best Alternative Channel Product: Aussie Select Lamb Pastrami

See last year’s Spirit of Innovation Awards ceremony.

Prepared Foods is the industry’s largest B2B title and reaches more than 20,000 food + beverage industry executives across all distribution channels. Prepared Foods serves professionals in roles of consumer insights, strategic innovation, marketing, R&D, culinary, nutrition, and related product development areas.