GRAND PRIX WINNERS: Top row (l. to r.) Kevin Malchoff, Rich Products; Mark Allen, IFDA; Michael Roach, IFDA & Ben E. Keith Foods; Patrick Davis, McCain Foods USA; James Scher, Multifoods Foodservice & Bakery; Maarten Potjer, Ecolab; Jackie Steep, Ecolab; Don Lewis, SCA Tissue North America; Jeff Polisoto, Rich Products; Jean Gattuso, A. Lassonde. Bottom row (l. to r.) Marcus Von Albrecht, Binner Marketing & Sales; Dinsh Guzdar and Ted Rich, Rich Products; Randall Smith, Tyson Foods; Tony Muscatto, Heinz North America; John McGrath, Pactiv Corp.; Michel Bonnet, Damafro Inc.; Andrea Baytoff, Campbell Soup Co.; Joe Kunde, ConAgra Foodservice; Michelle Scott, Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors; Doug Petruzzi, Pocono Produce Company.
The first-ever North American Foodservice Grand Prix Award provided manufacturers of all sizes an opportunity to showcase innovative products for the foodservice industry. Here are the best of the best.
Some products are simply better than others. With this in mind, the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) set out to find which products stand out due to the exceptional value they offer operators and end consumers. The result of this quest was the selection of 12 winners in the North American Foodservice Grand Prix Awards.
A panel of 12 experts, which included operators, chefs, distributors and trade press editors, met last November for two days of judging. Judges sampled and analyzed dozens of products for uniqueness and innovation, operator convenience and appeal, product attributes, and quality.
Eligible new products and product extensions (which must have been introduced between Nov. 1, 2003, and Oct. 31, 2004) were judged in 13 food and nonfood categories and had to attain a score of 70 points or higher. In two categories, no entries achieved the 70-point level.
Winners were announced in 11 categories during an IFDA gala awards event held January 30th in Washington, DC. "Best of Show" and "Innovation" awards were also presented.
The North American Foodservice Grand Prix Awards were sponsored by Noble & Associates, a recognized leader in building food brands; Symrise, a global creator of flavors and fragrances; and several media companies, including Restaurant Hospitality and its sister publication, Food Management.
The 2004 North American Grand Prix Awards are presented here for your review.
Beverages Condiments, Sauces, and Spices
Desserts, Snacks and Confectionary
Fruits and Vegetables
Meat, Poultry, Seafood and Egg
Prepared Soups and Entrees
Cleaning and Chemical Products
Cookware and Small Appliances
Paper, Plastic, and Foil
BEST OF SHOW
A Best of Show award was given to the entry that achieved the highest overall score in the competition.
An innovation award was given to the finalist entry that achieved the highest overall score in the innovation criteria section of the judging.
FINALISTS & WINNERS
Finalists in the competition were determined by the cumulative grade given to the product during the judging. Within each category, the product with the highest score was declared the winner.
A Foodservice Grand Prix Award winning product is determined by the intrinsic characteristics of the product, packaging, convenience, valueadded benefits, quality and value. While there is some variation in judging food versus nonfood items, products are judged against the following evaluation criteria:
Uniqueness & Innovation (30%)
Ability of the product to improve or redefine the category, shift paradigms or meet unfilled need. Judges were asked to consider how the product is new in this category, how these differences change the way we look at the category and how innovative features in the product could affect new product development within this category.
Operator Convenience & Appeal (25%)
Easy to use, saves time and effort, reduces waste and space or is better than similar products. Judges were asked to consider how the product translates into definable operator benefits in terms of preparation, flexibility, personalization, or other features.
Product Attributes (25%)
Taste/scent, nutritional value/effectiveness, conservation, overall benefits to end user, visual appeal and presentation. Judges were asked to consider how the product delivers better quality or value to the end user, whether the product's innovative features provide better taste, texture, visual appeal, nutritional value or ease of use. Judges also considered whether the item meets the manufacturer's claims.
Quality & Appeal (20%)
Overall value to operator and end user. Judges considered whether the product offers better overall value to the operator and consumer than other products in the category.
DESSERTS, SNACKS AND CONFECTIONARY
The Winner: Rich's Niagara Farms Premium Blended Whipped Topping
The Company: Rich Products Corporation
Special Honor: Named "Best of Show"
Product Description: Rich's® Niagara Farms™ premium blended whipped topping offers a great-tasting dairy product with superior stability to aerosol whipped toppings and the convenience of an easy-opening decorator pastry bag. In consumer testing throughout the U.S., this premium blended whipped topping outperformed all leading aerosol competitors in dairy taste and stability (weeping). The judges found the product's "Tear it, Tip it, Twist it, and Top it" opening procedure easy to use, particularly for prepping or serving desserts for large groups.
The Winner: Gourmet Baker Divine Center Muffins
The Company: Multifoods Foodservice & Bakery Proudcts
Product Description: Gourmet Baker Divine Centers Muffins are a thaw-and-serve product that combine a high-end muffin and cheesecake. Each muffin is filled with an ounce of cream cheese filling that goes into the muffin's core to create flavor balance with every bite. The muffins are produced on a state-oftheart production line, yet retain a slightly irregular, handmade appearance. The muffins are produced with "only the best" ingredients and are topped with pecans or walnuts. A number of judges noted that the addition of nuts in a random pattern were a nice touch, providing a product that looked individually made. The judges also noted that the nuts retained a nice crunchy quality that provided good texture contrast and that the muffins were not "overly oily as some foodservice muffins, yet the wrapping fell away without too much trouble."
The Winner: McCain Foods USA Inc.
The Category: Prepared Soups and Entrees
The Product: McCain Homestyle Babycakes Mini Potato Cakes
Product Description: McCain's Babycakes™ mini potato pancakes look like they were made from scratch in the back of the house. The savory taste includes authentic potato and onion flavor that can compliment traditional breakfasts, upscale entrees and more. The cakes have a loose shredded texture with a tender moist interior. Their size is ideal as a side, snack or profitable new appetizer. Judges commented that the product had "great taste, authentic flavor and appearance." They also felt the product was convenient to use.
BEVERAGES ( HOT & COLD)
The Winner: Tropical Oasis
The Company: A. Lassonde Inc.
Product Description: Tropical OASIS is a frozen mix for nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages that suits the needs of the growing food service segment of chilled cocktails and smoothies. The product can also be used as a waffle, pancake, and ice cream topping and as coulis for desserts. The versatility of the product leaves room for chefs and cooks "to use their imagination while preparing their own version of frozen desserts." Judges noted that the product had "great fresh peak flavor," "great application in desserts and sauces" and "good flavor and mixed well."
CONDIMENTS, SAUCES AND SPICES
The Winner: Heinz 375 ml. Upside Down Ketchup
The Company: H.J. Heinz Company
Product Description: The Heinz Upside Down Ketchup's "easy squeeze" design provides an easier and cleaner dispensing for enhanced patron satisfaction as a table top condiment. A nonremovable SafetyCap™ feature eliminates the opportunity of tampering with the bottle's contents and provides improved hygiene and food safety. The "stay-clean cap" keeps the bottle attractive serving after serving. Judges felt that the red container (versus clear) portrays higher quality and always maintains a full and clean appearance at table top. They noted that the upside down design provides a ready-to-use product without shaking or jostling to get the ketchup down as in a normal bottle.
The Winner: Baked Brie
The Company: Damafro Inc.
Product Description: Damafro's Baked Brie is a soft ripened cheese in its own brioche pastry with a mushroom filling. The product provides an improved pastry. For operator ease, each Brie is individually wrapped and boxed for storage. Judges commented that the product provides an easy item to prepare and offer as a high-end appetizer for operators who don't have the skill in the kitchen to prepare such an item. Other comments included "great tasting product and packaging" and "takes all the guesswork out of cooking and preparation."
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
The Winner: Lamb's Supreme® AltraMashed
The Company: ConAgra Foods
Product Description: Lamb's Supreme® Altramashed provides a blend of garden-fresh cauliflower, russet potatoes, three creamy cheeses, butter and seasonings that are lightly whipped to create a rich, satisfying texture and taste. Judges found the product to be low labor with easy pack size, easy to ship and easy to store. They also noted that the three product ingredients are well balanced with the distinct flavor of cheese, potato and cauliflower coming through with a "neutral nose and buttery up close."
PREPARED SOUPS AND ENTREES
The Winner: V8™ Inspired Soups
The Company: Campbell Company
Product Description: Campbell's V8 Inspired Soups include on-trend flavors with all the vegetable goodness expected from V8. The line features bold flavors that help satisfy customers seeking vegetable nutrition. With ingredients like roasted red peppers, tomatoes and aromatic blends of herbs and spices, each of these vegetarian soups satisfies any flavor craving customer— vegetarian or not. The two flavors submitted for the competition were Tomato Mushroom Florentine and Southwest Lentil. Judges noted that it was a good product for the growing vegetarian market and that it had the appearance of a gourmet soup. One judge noted that the soups were full of hearty vegetables and had a pleasant taste profile. "The beans and vegetables are all different cuts, lending a homemade appearance," one judge remarked.
POULTRY, MEAT, SEAFOOD AND EGGS
The Winner: Ready-to-Cook Crossfires™ GrillMarked Chicken Breast Fillet
The Company: Tyson Foods Inc.
Product Description: Tyson Foods' CrossFires™ GrillMarked Chicken Breast are frozen 5-ounce ready-to-cook breast fillets that are preseared with criss-cross marks for fresh-off-the-grill visual appeal, without the labor and equipment typically required. The diamond-patterned grill-marked fillet has high visual appeal, real smoked flavor and a consistent size that helps control food costs. Tyson Foods notes that it is "great for batch cooking." Judges were impressed by the product on many levels, including convenience for operator use. "Everything Tyson did with this product was convenient and flavorful," noted one judge. "The chicken had a moist, tender texture and a good taste with nice plate appearance," said another.
CLEANING AND CHEMICAL PRODUCTS
The Winner: Wash 'N Walk
The Company: Ecolab Inc.
Product Description: Wash 'n Walk uses a no-rinse procedure that leaves enzymes on the floor that literally eat grease. This patent-pending enzyme technology works equally well with hot or cold water. The technology eliminates the rinse step from floor cleaning, saving time, labor and water. The product also helps increase the friction of the floor, reducing the potential for slips and falls. During the single application at the judging, the product and steps explained in the instructional video worked well and flooring was "not slippery nor showed any stain."
PAPER, PLASTIC AND FOIL
The Winner: Xpressnap Napkins & Dispensing System
The Company: SCA Tissue
Product Description: The SCA Tissue Xpressnap is a new napkin system that combines single-portion dispensing with the versatility of five dispensing options. It can be mounted on a wall, set on a stand, dropped into a counter, placed on a countertop or mounted with a drive-thru dispensing option. The "one-at-a-time" dispensing feature reduces napkin consumption up to 30 percent, resulting in reduced waste and sizable cost savings. Patrons can only touch the napkin they will use, leading to improved hygiene. The dispenser comes with a customizable advertising space so foodservice establishments can create an image or message specific to their restaurant. Judges felt the dispensing system was very easy to operate and noted that "it was put together and filled in seconds."
The Winner: Roseware® Foam Hinged Bowls
The Company: PACTIV
Product Description: Pactiv's Roseware® Foam Hinged Bowls are designed to provide heat tolerance and strength in an extremely lightweight package. Made for transporting both hot and cold menu items, the leak-resistant closure and handy opening tab are ideal for high moisture contents, such as pasta, salad and Asian cuisine. The stackable bowls, available in seven-, eight-and nine-inch sizes, have a glossy, upscale appearance with sculpted walls. In testing the product, judges noted that the bowls sealed well and did not leak when turned upside down. Many judges noted the "very good feature" of having the lid attached and not having to store or order separate elements for to-go packaging.
Though there were dozens of entries in the competition, only 11 winners were selected. However, a number of entries achieved a score of 70 or higher from judges to be named "finalists." Excluding the winners, here are the products that were named finalists in their various categories.
Artisan Sandwich Baquette
Company: Weston Bakeries Limited
Product Description: A half baguette is perfect for sandwiches or for use as a table loaf.
BEVERAGES (HOT AND COLD)
Crystal Light On The Go
Company: Kraft Foodservice
Product Description: Portioned on-the-go packets of Crystal Light. Each is designed to be mixed with a 20-ounce bottled water.
CONDIMENTS, SAUCES AND SPICES
Mel-Fry Free High Performance, Zero Trans Fat, Multi-Purpose Oil
Company: Ventura Foods, LLC
Product Description: A high-performance replacement for partially hydrogenated oils made with high stability, low linolenic canola oil.
POULTRY, MEAT, SEAFOOD AND EGGS
Cornish Hen with Apple, Almond, Cranberry, Maple-Flavored Stuffing
Company: Tyson Foods, Inc.
Product Description: This Lady Aster® Cornish Hen from Tyson Foods, Inc. features top notes of maple flavor and orange. The boneless Cornish Hen, with wing joint attached, is stuffed with a savory mèlange of sautèed Fuji apple slices, toasted slivered almonds, dried cranberries and a mix of white and dark bread stuffing, combined with sweet onions and parsley.
| Individually Wrapped Boneless, Skinless Breast in Food Wise™ Packaging |
Company: Tyson Foods, Inc.
Product Description: Four-ounce frozen, read-tocook breast filets, individually wrapped in FoodWise™ packaging.
| Egg Bites |
Company: Burnbrae Farms
Product Description: This hand-held breakfast option consists of lightly breaded scrambled egg bites.
| French-Style Beef Short Ribs in Barbeque Sauce |
Company: TMF-The Meat Factory Ltd.
Product Description: Slowly roasted, French-stylecut beef short ribs bathed in Lou's Original BBQ Sauce.
| Multigrain Haddock Fillets |
Company: Janes Family Foods Ltd.
Product Description: Oven-ready haddock with a unique, flavorful multigrain breaded coating.
| Uppercrust™ |
Company: Ocean Cuisine International
Product Description: Tortilla-crusted tilapia with chipotle and lime is fully prepared, frozen and oven ready.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Sunkist Fun Fruit
Company: Sunkist Growers, Inc.
Product Description: Designed for kids, smile-like wedges of select high-brix Sunkist oranges and pineapple spears come in specialized, modified atmosphere film packaging.
| Anchor® Asian Vegetables |
Company: McCain Foods USA, Inc.
Product Description: This product comes in two styles—crispy green beans coated in a bold teriyaki-flavored breading or mixed Asian vegetables lightly coated in teriyaki-flavored batter.
PREPARED SOUPS AND ENTREES
V8™ GardenVegetable and Three-Cheese Lasagna
Company: Campbell Soup Company
Product Description: The V8™ soups, chilis and entrees make it easy for operators to offer ontrend vegetarian options without having to worry about tedious nutritional calculations
DESSERTS, SNACKS AND CONFECTIONARY
Company: A. Lassonde Inc.
Product Description: High-quality, no-sugar added, fat-free, lactose-free, sorbet without additives or artificial flavors, allowing a 100-percent fruit taste.
2004 Foodservice Grand Prix Judges
Marcus Von Albrecht (Jury Chair)
Corporate Chef, Binner Marketing and Sales Inc.
Chairman, British Columbia Chefs' Association
Walter N. Bronowitz
Chef, Western Regional Vice President
American Culinary Federation
Chef - ITHQ
Editor-in-Chief Restaurant Hospitality
Chef, Owner Fahrenheit Restaurant
Chief Editor HRI Magazine
Assistant Chef J. Kings Foodservice Professionals
Regional Director Distal, Inc. (Gordon Food Service)
Consultant in Hotel Management
President & Group Publisher Foodservice and Hospitality
Director of Marketing, Baugh Supply Chain Canada Sysco Corporation
Executive Chef Pocono Produce Company, Inc.
IFDA and CCGD wish to thank the sponsors of the 2004 North American Foodservice Grand Prix New Product Awards. Our sponsors include:
Noble & Associates, a Noble World Communications agency and a recognized leader in building food brands, and Symrise, a global creator of flavors, fragrances, cosmetic and aroma ingredients, and the recognized leader in creating and supporting winning brands. The Foodservice Grand Prix also thanks our media sponsors including Restaurant Hospitality, Food Management, Foodservice & Hospitality and HRI Magazine.