By Derrek J. Hull, Blogger-in-Chief
The National Restaurant Association today announced the recipients of its inaugural Food & Beverage Product Innovations Awards, which recognize progressive food and beverage products that will make a significant impact in the restaurant industry.
Award recipients will be showcased in the F&B Product Innovations Gallery (booth 7129) at the 2011 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show at Chicago’s McCormick Place May 21-24.
“Our independent panel of judges, who represent a broad variety of both commercial and non-commercial industry segments, selected these 13 products based on the forward-thinking approach to food and beverages demonstrated by their creators,” said C.W. Craig Reed, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2011 and Director of Food and Beverage, Broadmoor Hotel.
Reed added, “These truly innovative products will help drive customer satisfaction and profitability for restaurant and foodservice operators nationwide. As the largest restaurant and hospitality trade show in the United States, the NRA Show offers the perfect forum to explore trends and find new products to enhance menus in the nation’s nearly one million restaurants.”
Award recipients were selected for their significant advancements and innovations in ingredients, preparation, processing, and packaging.
The first annual Food & Beverage Product Innovations Award recipients are:
ConAgra Foodservice – The Max Fit for Kids Plus Whole Grain Stuffed Crust Pizza
This great-tasting pizza is made with all-natural whole wheat flour. The pizza is 51 percent whole grain, and meets new National School Lunch standards, including lower sodium. It comes in two varieties: Cheese and Turkey Pepperoni.
ConAgra Foodservice – PAM® Cooking Sprays
PAM has converted all of its cans to an environmentally-improved 2-piece can, which requires less energy and materials to produce. The can weighs 10 percent less than traditional 3-piece cans and generates less waste in the environment.
DrybagSteak, LLC – UMAI DrybagSteak
This is a scientifically-proven, unique European technology that allows any operator to create custom dry-aged steak (including prime, choice, and organic) using a clean, protected environment in any refrigerator or commercial walk-in.
Epicurean Butter - Spreadable Roasted Garlic Herb Butter
This chef-created, versatile spread is delicious, convenient and consistent enough to scale up for large operations. The product uses all-natural, premium ingredients blended with Grade AA butter.
Fermin & Wagshal's – Ibérico de Bellota Heritage Pork
The legendary, free-range, 100% pure Iberian pigs in Western Spain feed on acorns and herbs, resulting in a meat infused with a buttery, nutty flavor. This Spanish favorite is now available to U.S. operations for the first time ever.
Food Market Merchandising, Inc - got milk? Magic Milk Straws
All-natural, gluten-free, allergen-free, preservative-free and with virtually no sugar added, this product is a smart treat choice, and encourages children to choose milk over less healthy beverage options.
H.J. Heinz Company – Heinz® Dip & Squeeze® Ketchup
Heinz® Dip & Squeeze® Ketchup is a revolutionary new product designed to fit consumers’ on-the-go lifestyle. With three times the ketchup of a traditional 9-gram packets and a portable, clean, dual-function package, Dip & Squeeze® Ketchup enhances the eating experience for adults and children alike.
Inventure Foods Inc . – Boulder Canyon All Natural Snacks in Fully Compostable Packaging
This all-natural line of snacks is now available in fully compostable packaging produced from wood pulp that is sourced from managed plantations. The packaging is 100 percent compostable in all key biodegradation situations, and is certified to meet compostable packaging standards (ASTM 6400).
La Brea Bakery - Telera Roll
The quest for a nationally distributed Telera roll - the only kind that can be used to create an authentic Mexican Torta sandwich - is finally over. This all-natural, hearth-baked roll has a light golden crust and soft interior.
Lamb Weston, (a brand of ConAgra Foods) – Sweet Things Mini Tater Puffs®
These unique and flavorful puffs made from on-trend sweet potatoes are perfectly sized for enjoyment in any meal occasion. Crispy outside and tender inside, they are great for dipping–plus they offer versatile preparation, including conventional baking.
S&D Coffee, Inc. - Teafinity Natural Brewed Iced Tea with the Brewmaster System
This two-part breakthough features a liquid tea concentrate and revolutionary dispensing system that, when used together, deliver the appearance and taste of consistent and high-quality fresh-brewed tea.
Sinco Inc. - Hand-stretched Wood-fired Pizza Crusts
Produced in Italy, these parbaked, artisan pizza crusts are made with all-natural, premium ingredients and hand-rolled so that no two are exactly alike. Now operators can offer pre-made pizza crusts that look like they were hand-crafted on-premise.
The Bread House & Granary - Going Chia! Energy Fiber Bars
These bars are made with freshly-milled Montana hard red whole wheat infused with the ancient and powerful chia seeds, creating a tasty, nutritious and on-trend meal replacement or snack option.
The awards will be presented in the World Culinary Showcase on Saturday, May 21.
Award recipients were selected based on judges evaluation of the products as well as claims made by the manufacturers.