It’s a little fuzzy but I think one of my earliest childhood memories involved kindergarten’s “show-and-tell” time. A 5-year-old extrovert, I relished the chance to hide an object behind my back, present it in grand fashion and then talk.

In this case, I want to talk about missing Natural Products Expo West, the largest show-and-tell event for food and beverage innovation. Sadly, manufacturers (and ingredient suppliers alike) lost so much invested time and money around potential customer meetings. Likewise, we food media missed opportunities to meet innovators and see, touch and taste hundreds of new products. 

That said, I do want to invite all food and beverage processors to tell us about your new product achievements and enter Prepared Foods’ upcoming 18th annual Spirit of Innovation Awards. These unique awards recognize new foods and beverages introduced from January 2019 through March 2020 in retail, foodservice and alternative channels. What distinguishes these awards not only is Prepared Foods’ interest 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 2019 winners Tyson Foods, GS Gelato, Jennie-O Turkey Store, SUR Natural Health Brands, Trident Seafood and Sandridge Food Corp.

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

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 2019 to March 2020. Winning products, companies are recognized at Prepared Foods’ New Products Conference Sept. 14-16, 2020, in Dallas.

Want to Win? Tell Us More!

* Teamwork to address opportunity, solve a problem?

* How distinct in the market?

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

No charge to enter