Here’s food for thought and an interesting scenario: Let’s say I spend an entire day at an “all-you-can-eat” buffet. Then I walk outside and immediately tell you I’m still hungry. 

Although I don’t actually have the stomach for that, it is a fitting metaphor for how I feel after attending Natural Products Expo West. Last month, this four-day convention in Anaheim drew an estimated 86,000 people and 3,600 exhibitors. Putting aside all the natural and organic cleaning and home supplies, this easily represented the largest gathering of new products I’ve ever witnessed. To make it even more exciting, show sponsor New Hope Network also presented 36 NEXTY awards for new product innovation.

All that said—I still can’t get enough new product news. More precisely, I’m even hungrier now for your fascinating details from behind the scenes.

Spirit of Innovation Awards Categories*

Best New Retail Product / Food

Best New Retail Product / Beverage

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

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

Best New Product / Alternative Channel (In-Store Deli/Bakery, C-Store)

*Open to products introduced January 2018 to March 2019. Winning products, companies are recognized at Prepared Foods’ New Products Conference Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2018, in Chicago

Tell Us Your New Product Story!

* Teamwork to address opportunity, solve a problem?

* Sales Success?

* Why distinct in the market?

* New-to-the-world product concept, process technology, design or package?

Fill out the free online entry form!

There’s no better way to introduce Prepared Foods’ upcoming 17th annual Spirit of Innovation Awards. These distinctive awards recognize new foods and beverages in retail, foodservice and alternative channels—all those items introduced from January 2018 through March 2019. What makes these awards unique is Prepared Foods’ interest not only in your innovation—but also the accompanying stories of teamwork and problem solving. 

Today’s R&D is a team sport and Prepared Foods exists to serve all members of the product development process—from consumer insights and ideation all the way through product and package development. That process involves insights and efforts from corporate chefs, marketers, food scientists, package designers, nutritionists and others. Along with your product details, we value your stories about team members identifying an unmet market opportunity and how they addressed it; or about how a cross-functional team overcame issues related to formulation or new-to-the world packaging. 

There’s no charge to enter Prepared Foods’ Spirit of Innovation competition. Just go to and fill out an entry form. You’ll also learn more about past honorees—including our 2018 winners, which included The Real Good Food Company LLC, High Liner Foods, Califia Farms, REBBL Inc., Tyson Foods, Mediterranean Brands and Johnsonville Foods.

We look forward to learning about your new product efforts and adding your name to this distinguished list!