FRESNO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The 2015 Fresno Food Expo, presented by Union Bank, is now accepting entries for its 3rd Annual New Product Awards through Thursday, July 2, 2015 at Midnight. The New Product Awards, presented by Baker Peterson Franklin CPA, LLP, showcase innovative San Joaquin Valley food and beverage products and packaging, recognizing food trendsetters with two distinctive awards: the “People’s Choice Award” and the “Buyer’s Choice Awards.” Designed to build both buyer and consumer awareness of the diverse food products grown and manufactured in the Valley, the New Product Awards have been utilized as a strategic new product launching pad for Valley businesses. The 2015 Fresno Food Expo New Product Awards are open to registered exhibitors with a new food product, varietal or packaging concept. The product must be introduced to the marketplace between July 25, 2014 and July 23, 2015.
“In the past three years, the New Product Awards have directly impacted businesses, bringing their products to the forefront of buyers’ attention on the show floor and, as a result, get more products onto store shelves, in restaurant kitchens and into other vital distribution channels,” said Mayor Ashley Swearengin, City of Fresno. “That is the purpose of the Fresno Food Expo – connecting the local food production industry with over 750 varied buyers from retail, wholesale, foodservice and more from across the nation and around the world, creating valuable economic growth in California’s most agriculturally diverse region.”
This marks the first year that the “Buyer’s Choice Award” celebrity judging panel will choose a first, second and third place winner, in previous years only a first place winner was selected. The 2015 “Buyer’s Choice Award” celebrity judging panel will be comprised of professionals from retail, restaurant/foodservice and packaging industries including: world-renowned chef Erna Kubin-Clanin, owner of 5-star Erna’s Elderberry House and Chateau du Sureau; Whole Foods Local Sourcing Guru, Harvindar Singh; Direct Store Delivery Receiving Manager and Local Marketing Lead of Albertsons-Safeway Northern California Division, Sean Topping; and Division Manager at leading custom packaging solutions company Landsberg Orora, Jim Jarosz.
Last year, a total of 42 new products from 35 different Valley-based companies were debuted at the 2014 Fresno Food Expo New Product Awards. Casa de Tamales’ Pepperoni Tamale and Chicken Bacon Tamale, as well as L.T. Sue Company’s San Joaquin Valley Tea were both awarded the “Buyer’s Choice Award” at the 2014 Fresno Food Expo, when a tie was declared by the celebrity judging panel. Previous finalists and winners have experienced significant achievements since their participation in the New Product Awards from retail premium shelf placement to large box store contracts and an increase in bulk orders.
“Since being honored with the 2014 ’Buyer’s Choice Award,’ we have opened a new, second location in Downtown Fresno, and a third location is on the verge of opening as part of a local food truck pod,” said Liz Gonzalez, Owner, Casa de Tamales. “Additionally, our tamales are available for shipping to anywhere in the U.S. (except Oregon). We are amazed by the great feedback our handmade, family-recipe tamales have received from the industry and our community.”
Also returning in 2015, is the “People’s Choice Award,” which allows the general public to choose and vote on their favorite new product or packaging solution. This represents a test consumer marketplace and provides businesses with valuable, immediate feedback on their products. Voting for the “People’s Choice Award” begins on July 9, 2015 and goes until July 23, 2015 at 2:59 p.m. Votes will be tracked on the Fresno Food Expo website. For more information on the San Joaquin Valley New Product Awards, including how to participate in the “People’s Choice Award”, please visit www.fresnofoodexpo.com/expo/new-product-awards. The 2014 “People’s Choice Award” was Baloian Farms’ for their Squash Sauté Kits.
“We were thrilled with the public’s overwhelming response to our Squash Sauté Kits that garnered the Award, which provides an added endorsement of our product that truly helps with buyer outreach,” said Richard Cowden, Account and Marketing Manager, Baloian Farms. “Not only did we meet a variety of regional, national and international buyers at the 2014 Fresno Food Expo, but we also met other local growers and manufacturers who are part of making our region a leader in the global food industry.” Baloian Farms’ products are grown in Central and Southern California, including Stockton, Hollister, Fresno, Huron, Arvin and Santa Maria and extend all the way to Southern Mexico. Baloian Farms returns to the 2015 Fresno Food Expo as an exhibitor and industry sponsor.
The 2015 Fresno Food Expo, celebrating its 5th year, will be held on Thursday, July 23, 2015, at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center New Exhibit Hall. Registration is free to qualified buyers. Tickets to the Fresno Food Expo Public Event are now on sale for $40. Go to www.FresnoFoodExpo.com for more information.