NRA Innovation Award judges define what they're seeking

Judges for the Food & Beverage Innovation Awards at the 2011 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show have defined what they’re seeking in nominees.

Brad Nelson, vice president and corporate chef of Marriott International, is interested in seeing innovative products that offer advancements in nutrition profiles, sensible packaging for to-go items and room service, and more.

“I’m seeking products that are applicable for a multitude of menus, but also address the greater interests of our guests. Each one of our Marriott properties is different, so I’m looking for products that can be used in our convention centers or resorts to extended stay hotels. The products should also serve as selling points for our guests for their greater interests such as nutrition and sustainability practices.”

Mary Angela Miller, administrative director of Ohio State University Medical Center, is thrilled to represent the healthcare industry for these awards.

“With all the changes in healthcare, it’s an ideal time to step back and look for new products that help improve and innovate the way we serve those in our facilities, where we serve up to 900 patients and 12,000 staff per day through our hospital meals, cafés and grab-and-go kiosks. I’m looking for products that can be easily transported logistically throughout all our facilities, offer a high quality experience, and fit nutritional requirements.”

The National Restaurant Association is currently accepting applications from manufacturers who have made significant advancements and innovations in ingredients, preparation, processing, and packaging of food and beverage products launched in the U.S. marketplace between January 1, 2010 and May 21, 2011. The product may be designed for one, several or all operator segments.

Award recipients will be showcased at NRA Show 2011 and also included in an extensive pre-, at-, and post-show promotional campaign. The award recipients will be announced in late April 2011. For consideration, candidates must submit their application by Monday, March 28. Any new product submitted for consideration must meet one or more of the following criteria:

New Product Introduction: Product introduced to the U.S. marketplace between January 1, 2010 through May 21, 2011;

Product Improvement: Significant improvement to an existing product that is clearly recognizable by the operator;

New Process or Preparation: A new way to produce an existing product that improves the product in some way—longer shelf life, better nutritional profile, more nutrient retention, meeting new nutrition standards, etc.;

Healthier Nutritional Profile: Changes that significantly impact the nutritional profile of the product and can be validated;

Packaging Improvement: A significant change in the packaging of the product that delivers clear benefits to the operator;

Products Designed for Children: New products (and/or new formulations) specifically designed for tougher standards on student feeding;

Incremental Value to the Operator: Products that provide real value to operators in terms of price, cost savings, labor savings, time savings, increasing check average, etc.

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