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Winners of Foodservice Grand Prix New Product Awards Announced at IFDA Partners Executive Forum



The competition, a joint effort of the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD) and the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), recognizes new foodservice products of exceptional value to operators and end consumers.

Twelve products received the industry accolade by attaining the highest score within their respective category, based on scoring by an 11-member jury that included chefs, operators, distributor personnel, and foodservice trade media. Judges graded entries on four criteria including quality and value, product attributes, operator convenience and appeal, and uniqueness and innovation. In addition, a Best of Show Award is presented to the entry that is deemed the most exceptional by the Grand Prix jury and an Innovation Award is presented to the product with the highest score in the Uniqueness and Innovation section of the judging.

"Overall, the new products entered into this year's program showed that manufacturers are working to address the nutrition and health concerns of consumers," said Jury Chair Marcus Von Albrecht, chairman of the British Columbia Chef's Association. "This includes efforts to create products with zero trans fat, low or no cholesterol, and to create more healthful profiles through the use of whole grains, the addition of Omega 3 fatty acids, or other enhancements. Our Best of Show winner this year was just such a product."

Ventura Foods, LLC, won the Best of Show Award for Mel Fry Free-Soy, Low Linolenic, Trans-Fat Free Premium Shortening. This premium shortening is made with low linolenic soybean oil, contains zero grams of trans fat per serving, is cholesterol-free, and is low in saturated fat. It can be used as a replacement for partially hydrogenated oils and Ventura Foods states that the product provides equal or greater performance than partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

"Ventura Foods is extremely proud of being recognized by the Foodservice Grand Prix with this year's Best of Show Award," said Terry Splane, vice president of marketing at Ventura Foods. "The new Mel Fry Free-Soy, Low Linolenic, Trans-Fat Free Premium Shortening is a perfect solution for operators seeking to convert to Trans-Fat Free preparation methods without sacrificing performance and taste. It is Ventura Foods ongoing goal to maintain our leadership position by the continuous assessment of consumer level health concerns and reacting accordingly through product development."

Judges identified three attributes of the product that they felt were exceptional: good taste yet trans fat free, the product can be filtered cold for employee safety, and the price of the low linolenic product is excellent. Judges stated that there was no recognizable taste difference versus partially hydrogenated oil. Said one judge, "The nutritional elements, price, and ability to clean oil while at room temperature are great features." Said another, "This will become the preferred shortening for operators who will eventually require the elimination of trans-fat." Altogether the judges felt it was a great price for an oil with no trans-fats and no sacrifice in taste.

Two products tied for most points in the "Unique and Innovative Attributes" criterion and as a result there were two Innovation Award winners.

Flavored Specialty Cheese Slices from Land O' Lakes Foodservice claimed the first Innovation Award. The premium, all-natural cheese slices are positioned to help operators expand their menus and create new signature offerings with on-trend blue cheese and parmesan flavors. Judges felt the cheese slices were a very innovative alternative to shredded and crumbled cheese, were trendy, and had good flavor.

Stated one judge, "Good value for the price. Blue Cheese is bold and full-flavored with pleasant color. The sliced format makes it a great convenience option as the cheese melts quickly." Said another judge, "Easy to use to add a different flavor profile to sandwiches" and "the portion size is ideal for high-traffic situations."

A second Innovation Award went to My Fries Gold with the i3 advantage from ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston. Made with Yukon Gold potatoes and Lamb Weston's proprietary i3Advantage, My Fries Gold deliver quality taste and texture, up to 25% less fat than conventional fries, and zero trans fat. The proprietary system provides exceptional flavor and texture, impedes the absorption of cooking fats, and increases crispness and holding capabilities. Jury members found the health attributes compelling and the color unique. Said one judge, "Tasty product and good food cost per serving. Great color and flavor profile and the nutritional information are very marketable." Said another judge, "The big plus here is that customers can enjoy French fries that are more healthful than typical fries. Customers are looking for zero trans fat and this delivers."

2006 Foodservice Grand Prix Winners
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