Innovation Awards Return to Regional Food Show

Taylor Hillman Company News Releases, General, Industry News Release

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Popular Innovation Awards Return to Regional Food Show with “Buyer’s Choice” Award and Acclaimed Industry Judges

The 2014 Fresno Food Expo presented by Union Bank is excited to announce the return of the highly anticipated Fresno Food Expo New Product Awards, presented by Baker Peterson Franklin CPA, LLP. These awards showcase the most innovative products and packaging solutions from the most agriculturally rich and diverse region in the world – California’s San Joaquin Valley.

This year marks the introduction of the “Buyer’s Choice” Award, which replaces last year’s “Industry Award,” and welcomes a new panel of industry expert judges. To date, that panel consists of world-renowned chef Erna Kubin-Clanin, owner of 5-star Erna’s Elderberry House and Chateau du Sureau, food and beverage industry expert Vicky Boyd, a journalist for The Packer, Whole Foods “local sourcing guru” Harvinder Singh and a representative from Kroger. Judging will be based on marketability, presentation and packaging, and innovation and creativity. Each judge brings their own unique background, experience and understanding of an ever-changing consumer marketplace.

Cold House Vodka’s Cake Batter Vodka and Bella Viva Orchards Pure & Natural Dried Fruit Slices were both awarded the “Industry Award” in 2013 after a tie was determined by the celebrity judging panel.

“Our Pure & Natural product line was inspired by consumer demand for cleaner ways of eating. Our product line is all-natural dried fruit, so there are absolutely no additives. This not only makes it extremely nutritious and wholesome, but it also makes it ideal for exporting because of the strict sulfur limits abroad,” said Brean Bettencourt, Bella Viva Orchards. “At the 2013 Expo, we met eight new buyers from Asia, which has helped increase our existing exports there. Additionally, many of our domestic customers are located in the Bay Area, Chicago and the East Coast, so the Fresno Food Expo provided an opportunity to build an awareness of our products in the San Joaquin Valley, helping to drive consumer demand, as well as connect us with new buyers who didn’t have us on their radar.”

The “Buyer’s Choice” Award will be accompanied by the return of the popular “People’s Choice” Award, which provides consumers an opportunity to cast a vote for their favorite new product or packaging solution. This award also provides a great opportunity for participating companies to receive immediate feedback and reactions directly from their consumers. For the 2013 “People’s Choice” Award winner, Rosa Brothers Milk Company, said winning the award made a difference in them securing new retail locations.

“Winning the Fresno Food Expo’s “People’s Choice” Award helped open doors for our company, including closing deals with Save Mart Supermarkets and Vons. At the time of the 2013 Expo we were just in talks to bring our product in store. To be able to quantify a very positive consumer reaction, a spike in sales at existing retail outlets and tout a consumer-driven award had a critical impact on us closing these new business opportunities,” said Nicole Schott, Sales Department, Rosa Brothers Milk Company. “We are now in 25 Save Mart Supermarkets and 14 Vons locations.”

The public can vote for their favorite new product as part of the “People’s Choice” Award beginning on June 20 at 5 p.m. on the Fresno Food Expo website ( or Facebook page ( until July 22 at 5 p.m. Votes will be counted by the number of “Likes” on Facebook or emailed votes each product receives, which will boost product awareness online and give added promotional value and marketplace energy to participating companies. The winner will be announced by City of Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and a representative from Baker Peterson Franklin on July 24, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. during the public portion of the 2014 Fresno Food Expo.

A total of 55 new products were debuted at the 2013 Fresno Food Expo New Product Awards from 32 different San Joaquin Valley-based companies. Products entered last year ranged from Phillips Farms Finger Limes and Gerawan Farming’s Prima® Peach Consumer Packaging to ENZO Basil-Infused Organic EVOO and Sayula Gourmet Hot Peanut Sauce – all highlighting the rich diversity of food and beverage products coming from the region.

The Fresno Food Expo New Product Awards are open to any new food product, varietal or packaging concept. The product must be introduced to the marketplace between March 15, 2013 and July 24, 2014. New Product Award applications are available to all Fresno Food Expo confirmed exhibitors and must be received with two product photos no later than Friday, June 13 at 5 p.m. Applications and additional information are available at:

“The inaugural Fresno Food Expo New Product Awards provided a platform for our San Joaquin Valley-based food and beverage companies to showcase their new products to both the buying community and directly to consumers,” said Amy Fuentes, Local Business Initiatives Manager, City of Fresno. As a result, participating exhibitors were able to make immediate direct connections to new customers, the core purpose of the Expo and its benefit to our local food industry.”

The 2014 Fresno Food Expo will be held on Thursday, July 24, 2014, at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center New Exhibit Hall. For more information on the Fresno Food Expo or the San Joaquin Valley New Product Awards, please visit

The 2014 Fresno Food Expo is made possible in part by the support of the following well-known Valley businesses that have signed on as sponsors in support of the regional food show and its mission:

Major Sponsors:

· Baker Peterson Franklin, CPA, LLP
· KMJ Newstalk 580

· Busseto Foods · Lyons

· California Centers for International Trade Development
· The Produce News

· Certified Meat Products
· State Center Community College District

· City of Fresno
· Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company

· ENZO Olive Oil Company
· Union Bank

· Fowler Packing Company
· Wawona Frozen Foods

· Gerawan Farming Prima® Brand
· Wawona Packing Company

· Johanson Transportation Service
· Wells Fargo

Fresno Food Expo
Fresno Food Expo New Product Awards Page