Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://specialtyfoodmagazine.epubxp.com/i/986636

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FROM THE PUBLISHER What Good Is an Award if You Don't Win? SPECIALTY FOOD ASSOCIATION MEMBERS: Discuss this topic in the Solution Center on specialtyfood.com T he sofi Awards started in 1972 as the NASFT Outstanding Product Awards, a competi- tion designed to recognize the best products in our industry. Periodically, however, we hear people question its value to anyone beyond its winners. Chris Crocker Senior Vice President, Content & Marketing ccrocker@specialtyfood.com In sofi's current form, thousands of SFA member prod- ucts compete in 39 different food categories. More than 50 judges, including retailers, foodservice chefs, category ex- perts, food writers, university faculty, and industry pundits each participate for roughly a week of the three-week judg- ing period. All products are prepared and served as recom- mended and sampled without disclosure of maker, brand, or package. Judges score each product on taste and ingredient qual- ity. For the New Product award in each category, an innova- tion criterion is added. In April, awards are announced for the Bronze, Silver, Gold and top New Product in each category. The top scorer across all categories is named the Product of the Year, and announced at the Summer Fancy Food Show. Yes, winners take great pride in their sofis, as demon- strated by how many you see on display at a Fancy Food Show. The press writes about them and buyers seek them out to include in special promotions. That's all great for the honorees, but how is sofi good for you if you don't win? • Continuous improvement. A sofi Award entry is more than a lottery ticket with a chance to win. It's an opportunity to put your product up against others, juried by an independent panel. I recently heard the expression that "to be great takes commitment; to be the best is sacrificial." We can fairly stipulate that there is a multitude of great products in our indus- try. Makers vying for sofi Awards are competing for top honors, and that aspiration can help them stretch beyond great. • Keeping foods on the radar. The SFA has 3,700 member companies with at least a hundred thou- sand products in their offerings. It's simply impos- sible to highlight that many products and brands. Each year, the sofi competition generates a juried selection with which to generate awareness for spe- cialty foods on a wide spectrum—from trade media to network television. If we want to raise products that represent us, sofi winners are fine exemplars. Beyond an opportunity for individual products to be recognized, sofi is a competition that makes us all better, and it represents the best our industry has to offer. SUMMER 2018 5 Each year, the sofi competition generates a juried selection with which to generate awareness for specialty foods on a wide spectrum—from trade media to network television. If we want to raise products that represent us, sofi winners are fine exemplars.

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