Ready to talk trends—or better yet—taste those trends? Prepared Foods did just that when it presented its 17th annual “Spirit of Innovation” awards for new product teams during the New Products Conference, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Chicago’s Swissotel. 

This year’s honorees and their award-winning products checked all the boxes for today’s top trends. Learn more about every company’s winning product development story—as well as Prepared Foods’ product award program process and criteria.

Here’s a brief look at each company and product—by award and trend description. 

Editor’s Choice: Most Disruptive/Innovative: Yappah! Chicken Crisps. Whether you consider it sustainability, food waste reduction or “upcycled ingredients,” this distinctive snacks line—using reclaimed food waste ingredients—is a trendsetter in many ways. Tyson Innovation Lab, Chicago, also broke the R&D mold with a new, fast-to-market process.

Retail Food: Cold Brew Coffee Oat Milk Frozen Dessert. Already well known at foodservice, GS Gelato, Fort Walton Beach, Fla, developed this private label offering that not only taps the cold brew trend but also adds “plant-based” ingredient appeal. 

Retail Beverage: ZYN Curcumin Drink. More consumers pursue self-care with functional foods and beverages. SUR Natural Health Brands LLC, Milwaukee, Wis., addresses this trend with ZYN Curcumin Drinks, which deliver at least 200mg of curcumin per 16oz bottle. Curcumin is the most bioactive part of turmeric, to support immune health.

Foodservice Front of House: 10G Protein Noodles. Vegetable processors use vegetables to create healthier versions of popular side dishes, such as pasta. Trident Seafoods Corp., Seattle, does the same thing with these easy-to prep noodles made wild Alaskan Pollock. A serving delivers 10g of extra protein.

Foodservice Back of House: Hardwood Smoked Bone-in Dark Turkey. Trends come and go but what never goes out of style are foodservice operator needs for versatile, convenient solutions. Jennie-O Turkey Store, Willmar, Minn., created a bone-in, fully-cooked smoked offering that’s practically fool-proof.

Alternative Channel: Lifestyle 750mg/14g Functional To-Go Meals. Sandridge Food Corp., Medina, Ohio, created Lifestyle 750mg/14g, a line of functional, to-go meals and contain no more than 750mg sodium with 14g protein. Initially developed for hospital discharge patients, the 11-item line—involving simple pre-cooked, ready to assemble components—has become equally popular for hospital guests, staff members. It’s also crossing channels to the in-store deli department.