Goat cheese pearls from Bath, England, shelled edamame from Berkeley, California, and seafood bisque from Coos Bay, Oregon, are among 11 finalists for the sofi Award for the Outstanding New Product of 2013.
A sofi is the highest honor in the $86 billion specialty food industry. The Awards are open to members of the Specialty Food Association (formerly NASFT), a not-for-profit trade association for food artisans, importers, and entrepreneurs. “sofi” stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation.
A panel of specialty food professionals convened last week at Association offices in New York City to select finalists for the coveted New Product award, and for Outstanding Product Line, which honors a company’s entire product assortment. This completes the finalist process for this year’s awards. There are 32 awards in all, from Outstanding Appetizer, Antipasto, Salsa or Dip to Outstanding Vinegar. Winners will be announced July 1at the Summer Fancy Food Show at a red-carpet ceremony hosted by internationally-acclaimed Chef Marcus Samuelsson.
This year’s contest was the largest in its 41-year history, with specialty food makers submitting 2,573 products across all 32 awards. There were 452 entries vying for Outstanding New Product. Judges convened in two sessions over eight days. Their nominations for the other 30 awards were selected and announced in April.
“Our members are hard at work creating wonderful new products that touch on new trends and improve on classics. It was a challenge for the nominating judges to come up with their list,” says Ann Daw, president of Specialty Food Association.
The judges evaluated the entries on numerous attributes, including quality, taste, innovation, packaging, ingredients, and pricing.
Finalists for Outstanding New Product 2013 are:
- Artisan Biscuits Ltd. - The Fine Cheese Co. Pearls of Pure Goats' Cheese
- Big Picture Farm - Cocoa Latte Goat Milk Caramels
- Greenwave Foods, Inc. - Eda-Zen Super Premium Shelled Edamame
- Gimme Health Foods - Organic Roasted Seaweed Snacks - Teriyaki
- Haig's Delicacies - Taboule Salad Mix & Serve Retail Pack
- Icelandic Milk & Skyr Corp. - Siggi's Raspberry Filmjölk - Non-Fat Drinkable Yogurt
- Oregon Seafoods - Sea Fare Pacific Seafood Bisque
- Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. - Point Reyes Bay Blue
- Sabatino North America - Truffle Mac & Cheese
- Sauces 'n Love, Inc. - Porcini and Shiitake Alfredo
- Tres Agaves Productions, Inc. – Tres Agaves Nectar Organic
Finalists for Outstanding Product Line 2013 are:
- Grace & I - Fruit and Nut Press Collection
- Italian Harvest, Inc. - Marella Factory - Artisan Pasta
- Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
- Los Chileros - Stöger Seed Oils
- Vermont Creamery
The panel included: Andy Arons and Michael Rafferty, Gourmet Garage, New York; Sissy Biggers, The Today Show; David Clemens, Gateway Market, Des Moines, Iowa; Kate Collier and Eric Gertner, Feast!, Charlottesville, Virginia.; Kathryn Flouton, Tina Heath-Schutternberg and Maria Roemer, Dean & DeLuca, New York; Rachel Forillere and John Lawson, Whole Foods Market, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey; Adam Glassman, O, The Oprah Magazine, New York; Emiliano Lee, Farmshop, Santa Monica, Calif.; Pete Marczyk, Marczyk Fine Foods, Denver, Colorado; Leyda Martinez, Gardner's Market, Coconut Grove, Flordia; Steven Petrecca and Daniel Skurnick, STARR Restaurants, Philadelphia; Regina Ragone, Family Circle, New York; Jeanette Scarcella, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I.; Allison Schraf, Zingerman's, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Morgan Ward, City Feed and Supply, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts; Ryan White, New Seasons Market, Portland, Oregon, and Scott Zoeller, King's Super Markets/Balducci’s, Parsippany, New Jersey.