After anonymous tastings by hundreds of top buyers at the 2023 Summer Fancy Food Show, the Specialty Food Association (SFA) announced that Mochidoki Vegan Passionfruit Mochi Ice Cream and Lewis Road Creamery 10 Star Certified Salted Butter have been awarded the 2023 sofi Awards for New Product of the Year and Product of the Year, respectively.

"We are jumping in joy to receive this," said Mochidoki co-founder Ken Gordon. "It's a culmination of a lot of hard work. It confirms that mochi ice cream is here to stay!"

"We are very, very excited to receive this award for our product that comes from our small region of Waikato on the other side of the world," said Jason Clements, general manager of Lewis Road Creamery. "To be recognized will mean so much to the farms we work with in New Zealand."

The Specialty Food Association has been presenting sofi Awards since 1972. Open only to product-qualified members of the SFA, entrants in each of 53 categories were judged at the Food Innovation Center at Rutgers University (FIC), the SFA's partner for the awards. FIC experts evaluated products using anonymous tastings using criteria that included flavor, appearance, texture, aroma, ingredient quality, and innovation. A total of 97 specialty food products were awarded Gold or New Product category trophies in May.

"The sofi Awards celebrate the creativity and quality that drives the $194 billion specialty food industry," said Denise Purcell, vice president, resource development for the SFA. "Mochidoki and Lewis Road Creamery exemplify the excellence within our industry."

The top five Gold and New Product category winners were eligible to compete for Product of the Year and New Product of the Year at the Summer Fancy Food Show. Qualified food and beverage buyers participated in anonymous tastings of the top five Gold and New Product category winners on Sunday, June 25 and Monday, June 26.

Open only to the trade, the Summer Fancy Food Show is the largest B2B specialty food and beverage show in North America.