The National Restaurant Association has announced the recipients of the 2012 Food and Beverage Product Innovations Awards, which recognize consumable products that deliver restaurant operator benefits ranging from new flavor concepts to better-for-you nutritional profiles and flexibility.
The awardees were selected by an independent panel of experts who represent a broad variety of both commercial and non-commercial segments.
The 2012 Food and Beverage Product Innovations Award recipients are:
- Cavendish Farms – Tempura Battered Extreme Beans
Cavendish Farms has taken long Kentucky Flat beans pickled in a blend of spices and added its signature crispy tempura coating. It's a spicy snack that offers plate appeal to any menu.
- ConAgra Foodservice - Angela Mia NSA Crushed Tomatoes
This is the only no-salt-added crushed tomato product on the market today — it delivers fresh tomato flavor (100 percent California), aroma and color with only 14 percent of the sodium in traditional crushed tomatoes.
- ConAgra Foodservice - The Max Fit for Kids Plus MaxSnax BBQ Chicken
These mini handheld triangles of 51-percent whole-grain quesadilla dough are filled with chunks of white-meat chicken, a blend of cheeses and a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce and it meets new National School Lunch standards.
- Cook Natural Products- Mara's Pasta
The only 100-percent whole wheat pasta made from Maragrain. Grown by U.S. family farmers, each two-ounce serving contains seven grams of dietary fiber and eight grams of protein.
- Copa di Vino – Copa di Vino Wine (Copa!)
The first wine by the glass bottled directly into a recyclable plastic cup that allows an operator to conveniently serve wine anywhere without the need to uncork and pour, which reduces costs and waste.
- HJ Heinz Company – 3-in-1 Soup, Sauce or Dip
This is a unique frozen product that allows an operator to create three menu items by simply changing the preparation. Reconstitute with water for a soup, milk for a sauce or sour cream for a dip.
- HMC Farms – Grape Escape
The fresh, de-stemmed grapes are washed and ready to eat, and are packed in single serve two-ounce or three-ounce bags. Grape Escape meets the challenge of profitably serving healthy fresh fruit snacks year round. There are no preservatives or additives and they have an 18-day shelf life.
- HomeFree LLC - Gluten Free Vanilla Mini Cookies
These cookies are a good source of whole grains (9 g), certified organic (70 percent), heart healthy, Kosher pareve, vegan and Non-GMO Project Verified. They are free of the top eight allergens and certified gluten-free.
- Jennie – O Turkey Store – Precooked Turkey Burger
Developed specifically for K-12 foodservice, this product gives students a burger experience with all the nutritional benefits of turkey. Most importantly, for kids and schools alike, it delivers on taste, texture, appearance and product performance.
- KRAFT YES Pack
The YES Pack — which stands for yield, ease, sustainability — is Kraft Foods' new revolutionary package that helps operators manage costs and optimize back-of-house efficiencies. The innovative design of YES Pack allows for 99 percent dressing yield, precision pouring and reduced solid waste.
- Mighty Leaf Tea – Mfusions
Mfusions is a creative selection of fresh tea, fruit and herb-based drinks, packaged to go. The customer interactively activates the drink by releasing agave-sweetened herbal/fruit blend into tea within a self-contained cup, offering a portable beverage experience.
- STOUFFER'S Parmesan Risotto
This product is versatile, ready to heat and serve as-is or to customize with your signature additions. It includes authentic 100-percent Arborio rice, Parmesan and Asiago cheeses, onions, garlic, and touches of extra virgin olive oil, chicken broth, cream and butter.
- Oregon Seafoods – Chef's Brand Pacific Caught Wild Albacore
This is the first U.S. producer of once-cooked albacore tuna in a pouch from U.S.-caught, sustainable fish with a significantly improved nutritional profile and better quality versus canned tuna. There are no fillers, no preservatives, no BPA and a better carbon footprint.
- SASASWEETS - SasaPops brand artisan frozen pops
SasaPops Fruit Bars contain only fruit, water and organic sugar. SasaPops Dessert Bars are the first pops with dessert inclusions, such as cake chunks in real cream bases. They're also available in a MiniPops size for children.
- Simpli – Simpli OatShakes
This is the only solely oat-based product that is dairy-free and all natural, 100-percent vegan, soy-free, and non-GMO.
- Snyder's Lance – Lance 51% Whole Grain Saltines
The first saltine made with 51-percent whole grain that meets K-12 school lunch requirements.
- Unilever Food Solutions- Lipton Zero Calorie Fresh Brewed Sweet Tea
An innovative range of zero-calorie fresh-brewed sweet teas that deliver refreshment and convenience along with single-step, consistent brewing for operators at savings versus sugar sweetening. It is available in three on-trend flavors.
- White Toque - Vegetable Glacis
The all-natural vegetable concentrates are used for enhancing soups, sauces, dressings and dips. It is the first frozen line available in the U.S. in a convenient squeeze bottle with flavors including Red Beet, Onion, Carrot, Red Pepper, Yellow Pepper and Tomato Confit.
Award recipients will be showcased in the exclusive Food and Beverage Products Innovations Gallery on the exhibit floor at the 2012 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, May 5-8 at Chicago's McCormick Place.
"Our esteemed panel of judges selected groundbreaking food and beverage products that customers will soon be buzzing about," said Jack Crawford, convention chair for NRA Show 2012 and president and CEO of Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative LLC. "These customer-centric standouts will give NRA Show attendees plenty to think about and act on while they tour this year's exhibit floor."
Read more about food and beverage launches.