Two years ago, the International Foodservice Distributors Assocation (IFDA ) and the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD) created the Grand Prix Awards to critique some of the manufacturer products introduced during the previous year. Enlisted were a panel of 10 experts—operators, chefs, distributors and trade press editors—to sample and analyze dozens of these products for uniqueness and innovation, operator convenience and appeal, product attributes and quality. The results of their efforts are revealed over the next five pages. You'll also find their choices for best and most innovative products.
Eligible new products and product extensions (which must have been introduced between Nov. 1, 2005 and Oct. 31, 2006) were judged last November in nine food and two nonfood categories. To achieve finalist status, entries had to attain a score of 70 points or higher.
Winners were announced in 11 categories during a gala awards event held February 11th at the IFDA Partners Executive Forum in Amelia Island, FL.
The Grand Prix Awards are sponsored by Restaurant Hospitality and its sister publication, FoodManagement, as well as two Canadian foodservice publications—Hotel Restaurant and Institutions Magazine and Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine. Here are the 2006 Grand Prix winners.
A Foodservice Grand Prix Award-winning product is determined by the intrinsic characteristics of the product, packaging, convenience, value-added benefits, quality and value. While there is some variation in judging food versus nonfood items, products are evaluated using the following criteria:
Uniqueness & Innovation (25%)
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 and 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 (25%)
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.
CONDIMENTS, SAUCES & SPICES
The Winner: Mel Fry Free-Soy, Low Linolenic, Trans-Fa Free Premium Shortening
The Company: Ventura Foods
Special Honor: Named "Best of Show"
Product Description: Mel Fry Free-Soy is made with low linolenic soybean oil, contains zero grams of trans fat per serving, is cholesterolfree and is low in saturated fat. This premium shortening provides "equal or greater performance than partially hydrogenated soybean oil," and is "more economical than low linolenic canola and sunflower oils." Ventura positions the product as a "more economical alternative without sacrificing performance or food quality." Mel Fry Free-Soy is the "most high stability soybean oil on the market."
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
The Winner: My Fries™ Gold
The Company: Conagra Foods Lamb Weston
Product Description: Made with the finest Yukon Gold potatoes and Lamb Weston's proprietary i3Advantage, My Fries Gold deliver quality taste and texture, up to 25 percent less fat than conventional fries and zero trans fat. The french fry product delivers three benefits: imparts exceptional flavor and texture qualities, impedes the absorption of cooking fats and increases crispness and holding capabilities. The product line incorporates unique cut styles and can help attract those who have shied away from enjoying one of their favorite foods, says Conagra Foods Lamb Weston.
DAIRY PRODUCTS & EGGS
The Winner: Prestige Premium Omelettes
The Company: Burnbrae Farms
Product Description: Burnbrae Farms Prestige Premium Omelettes are fully cooked, individually quick frozen omelettes that are hand prepared for a "homemade" appearance and texture. The product is made from fresh whole eggs and other fine ingredients including fresh diced vegetables and real cheddar cheese. The vegetables and cheddar cheese are distributed throughout the omelette, not just as a filling. The omelettes are also prepared in a thicker format than other IQF omelettes to improve texture and moisture retention.
DAIRY PRODUCTS & EGGS
The Winner: Flavored Specialty Cheese Slices The Company: Land O' Lakes
Special Honor: Innovation Award
Product Description: These specialty cheese slices are premium, all-natural cheese slices that help operators create new signature offerings with on-trend blue cheese and parmesan flavors. Slices eliminate prep hassles of crumbles and shreds and overcome the problem of crumbles or shreds falling off grill items during cooking.
The 4" round shape provides thorough coverage on burgers and sandwiches and can also be used in wraps and pizza, and the slices melt evenly and smoothly — producing a rich taste and inviting appearance.
The Winner: Rich's® Spiral Bagel Sandwich Roll—Multi Grain
The Company: Rich Products Corporation
Product Description: Rich's Spiral Bagel Sandwich Roll is made of a high quality bagel dough that features zero transfat and zero cholesterol. The torpedo-shaped roll is positioned by Rich's as an "ideal upscale sandwich carrier." The product submitted for the Foodservice Grand Prix was multigrain, with a wholesome multigrain mix incorporated throughout. Judges noted that the multigrain component is "perfect for health-conscious consumers" and that the "appearance of the multiple grains makes this a nice option for the current market."
DESSERTS, SNACKS, CONFECTIONARY & CANDY
The Winner: Rich's® Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake
The Company: Rich Products Corporation
Product Description: This cheesecake is a thawand-serve dessert with a crunchy vanilla cookie crust covered with a layer of raspberry puree and topped with a light lemony cheesecake. The cheesecake is topped off with cookie crumbs and a white chocolate raspberry drizzle. Rich Products describes the product as a "unique flavor combination of lemon and raspberry [that] puts a new twist on this classic cheesecake flavor" and delivers "on-trends citrus flavor that appeals to a large customer base."
The Winner: Whole Grain Cereal Bars
The Company: General Mills
Product Description: These cereal bars appeal to both kids' tastes and school operators' needs for easy-to-serve snacking options. General Mills states that the whole grain cereal bars take two highly approved kids brands and put them into a new form that is priced right for schools to serve in both reimbursable breakfast programs and to drive school revenue in a la carte sales (Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs are ranked #1 and #8 in school cereal rankings, respectively). Each cereal bar equals one bread equivalent, contains 30 percent total sugar by weight, provides the benefits of whole grain and is a source of seven key vitamins and minerals.
POULTRY, MEAT & SEAFOOD
The Winner: Recipe Cut BreakAway
The Company: Advance Food Company
Product Description: Recipe Cut BreakAway provides high quality beef and chicken raw materials in frozen, presliced, portion-controlled form. Advance Food Company positions the products as an excellent ethnic solution that can also be used in recipes where whole muscle meats are required. The nonseasoned meats include chicken (breast), sirloin and inside skirt steak. The inside skirt steak is recommended for tacos, tortas, quesadillas, fajitas and other Mexican dishes. The sirloin is suited for Asian applications, such as stir fry. The chicken is recommended for either of these ethnic profiles.
PREPARED SOUPS & ENTREES
The Winner 1: Insignia Campbell Chef Series Soup
The Company: Campbell Soup Company
Product Description: These soups provide quality that rivals scratch soups. The two varieties submitted for judging included Roasted Red Pepper & Smoked Gouda Bisque and Lobster Bisque with Sherry. The first is a bisque of pureed roasted red peppers, smoked and shredded gouda, basil, garlic and cream. The second includes lobster stock, sherry, cream and butter. Four other varieties include Beef & Mushroom Medley with Burgundy, Salmon Fillet & Brandy Chowder, Thai Infused Chowder with Haddock and Bayside Crab & Cream Bisque with Sherry.
PREPARED SOUPS & ENTREES
The Winner 2: McCain Freschetta PizzeriaStyyle Pizza—16 inch
The Company: McCain Foods
Product Description: These pizzas are fully topped, gas flushed, with a rolled edge rising crust. The pizzas are ready to cook without any prep and can be cooked in any oven. The two varieties submitted for judging were the Pepperoni and All Dressed. The Pepperoni is topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and dry-cured pepperoni. The All Dressed is topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, green pepper, mushrooms, onions, and pepperoni. Other available varieties include Three Cheeses, Vegetable and Hawaiian.
| BACK-OF-HOUSE PRODUCTS |
The Winner: Dawn® Heavy Duty Floor Cleaner
The Company: Procter & Gamble Professional
Product Description: Dawn® Heavy Duty Floor Cleaner provides the grease-fighting power of Dawn® Dish Detergent and is a versatile multipurpose cleaner designed for fast, easy removal of dirt found on foodservice kitchen floors and other foodservice surfaces (including walls, restrooms, tables and food contact surfaces). The cleaner has a pleasant, fresh aroma and is noncaustic, nonflammable and noncorrosive. Each container comes with a standard dosing pump, which helps ensure that employees are using the proper amount of the product. One gallon of concentrated product makes more than 25 fivegallon mop buckets of finished product.
The Winner: Xpressnap Table Top Colors Napkin Dispenser
The Company: SCA Tissue North America
Product Description: The Xpressnap Tabletop Dispenser offers interfolded napkins that provide oneat-a-time dispensing with a guaranteed 25 percent reduction in napkin cost. The dispensers have a small footprint and attractive design for placement at the dining table and come in a variety of colors to match virtually any decor. The dispensers also offer the "Ad-a-Glance" feature that allow operators to advertise specials, sell advertising space, promote local events or download templates from the SCA website to support such causes as Special Olympics.