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Tortilla chips with olives and capers, breakfast cheese, and organic blood orange soda are among the 11 finalists for the 2009 sofi Award for Outstanding New Product of 2009. The sofi Awards, presented by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, honor the outstanding specialty foods and beverages of the year in 33 categories. “sofi” stands for specialty outstanding food innovation.
The sofi Awards pay tribute to outstanding products in the $60 billion U.S. specialty food industry. The competition is open to members of the NASFT, a not-for-profit trade association established in 1952. Entries were judged on numerous attributes, including quality, taste, innovation, packaging, ingredients, and pricing. The judges were Linda Sikorski, The Pasta Shop, Oakland, Calif.; Maren Ammerman and Tara Lenington, The Fresh Market, Greensboro, N.C.; Tim Calderone, Meijer, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Anna Zoitas, West Side Market, New York; Charlotte Lyons, Ebony Magazine, Chicago; Tim Von Hollweg and Jason Colucci, Tribeca Grill/Myriad Restaurant Group, New York; Julie Wyrick, Pier 1 Imports, Fort Worth, Texas; Erik Murnighan and Phil Gutensohn, The French Culinary Institute, New York; and Brian Hilla and John Hilla, Joe Leone’s, Point Pleasant, N.J.
“This year’s strong group of sofi Silver Finalists is proof of the innovation and passion at the core of the specialty food industry,” said Ann Daw, president of the NASFT.
The finalists for Outstanding New Product 2009 are:
--Belle Chevre: Belle & The Bees Breakfast Cheese
--Chex Finer Foods: Laurel Hill Tortilla Chips, Olive and Caper
--Clotho Corp.: Haddrell’s of Cambridge Rewarewa Honey
--European Imports, Ltd.: Cucina Viva Roasted Red Tomatoes
--Grafton Village Cheese Co.: Grafton Duet
--Koppert Cress USA: Mustard Cress Single Retail Unit
--New England Herbal Foods: Danielle Fruit Chips, Roasted Coconut
--Sonoma Syrup Co.™: Acai Black Currant Superfruit Syrup™
--The Gracious Gourmet: Dilled Carrot Tomato Tapenade
--Theo Chocolate: Theo Limited Edition Collection
--Vinnedge Distributing, Inc.: Vergnano Italian Organic Blood Orange Soda
A national panel of specialty food experts tasted and evaluated 1,997 products over five days at the NASFT offices in New York this spring. The judges selected 128 finalists across 33 categories, including Outstanding Chocolate, Cheese, Snack Food and Olive Oil. The last two groups of finalists were selected earlier this month, for Outstanding New Product and Outstanding Product Line. The finalists will be judged by attendees at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. Gold winners will be announced at a special ceremony Monday, June 29 hosted by noted chef Ming Tsai.
The finalists for Outstanding Product Line are:
--Bellwether Farms: Bellwether Farms
--DeMedici Imports, Ltd.: A L’Olivier
--Sarabeth’s Kitchen: Sarabeth’s Product Line
--Silver Moon Desserts: Silver Moon Ice Cream and Sorbet
--The Rogers Collection: Les Moulins Mahjoub
--Vervacious: Voyage Inspired Fancy Foods
The NASFT was established to foster trade, commerce and interest in the specialty food industry. Today there are more than 3,000 members in the U.S. and abroad. For further information on the NASFT and its Fancy Food Shows, go to www.specialtyfood.com.