The National Restaurant Association today announced the recipients of its first annual Food & Beverage Product Innovations Awards, which recognize progressive food and beverage products that will make a significant impact in the restaurant industry.

The 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,” says C.W. Craig Reed, convention chair for NRA Show 2011 and director of food and beverage, Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs, Colorado. “These truly innovative products will help drive customer satisfaction and profitability for restaurant and foodservice operators nationwide.”

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 two-piece can, which requires less energy and fewer materials to produce. The can weighs 10 percent less than traditional three-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 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 packet 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.

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 are made from 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 breakthrough 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 par-baked, artisan pizza crusts are made with all natural, premium ingredients and are hand-rolled so that no two are exactly alike.  Now operators can offer pre-made pizza crusts that look like they were handcrafted 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 meal replacement or snack option.

Industry News, NextGen Casual