The winners of the 41st sofi Awards for the outstanding specialty foods and beverages of the year were announced earlier this week at the Summer Fancy Food Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. The awards, from the Specialty Food Association, were presented at a red-carpet ceremony hosted by internationally-acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson.
A sofi is the highest honor in the $86 billion specialty food industry. The awards are open to members of the Specialty Food Association (formerly NASFT), a nonprofit trade association for food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs. “sofi” stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation. This year’s contest was the largest in its history, with specialty food makers submitting 2,573 products across all 32 awards categories.
The 2013 sofi winners are:
• Appetizer Antipasto, Salsa or Dip—Gourmet du Village, Hot Parmesan & Artichoke Dip Mix.
• Baked Good, Baking Ingredient or Cereal—Fromagerie Belle Chevre, Goat Cheese Cheesecake.
• Cheese or Dairy Product (tie)—Caves of Faribault, Jeffs’ Select; and Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., Toma.
• Chocolate—Chocolat Moderne, Avant-Garde Bar Blood Orange Bergamot Flavor.
• Classic—Cypress Grove Chevre Inc., Humboldt Fog.
• Cold Beverage (tie)—Brands of Britain, Fever-Tree Premium Sparkling Lemon; and Canada Enterprises, Jin-Ja.
• Condiment—The Virginia Chutney Co., Spicy Plum Chutney.
• Confection—The Sticky Toffee Pudding Co., Chocolate Tiffin with Biscuits, Roasted Almonds & Cherries.
• Cookie—Tate’s Bake Shop, Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip.
• Cooking Sauce or Flavor Enhancer—Korean Delights, We Rub You-Spicy Korean BBQ Marinade.
• Cracker—Lesley Stowe Fine Foods, Salty Date and Almond Raincoast Crisps.
• Dessert or Dessert Topping—McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, Double Peanut Butter Chip.
• Diet and Lifestyle Product—Fromagerie Belle Chevre, Belle & The Bees Breakfast Cheese.
• Food Gift—Bee Raw, Manhattan Rooftop Honey Flight.
• Frozen Savory—Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co., Old Port Lobster Flatbread.
• Hot Beverage—Bhakti Chai, Bhakti Chai.
• Innovation in Packaging Design or Function—HoneyPax, HoneyPax Raw Tupelo Honey Packets.
• Jam, Preserve, Honey or Nut Butter—Wildly Delicious Fine Foods, Beet & Red Onion Marmalade.
• Meat, Pâté or Seafood—Creminelli Fine Meats, Campania Handcrafted Italian Salami.
• New Product (tie)—Artisan Biscuits Ltd., The Fine Cheese Co. Pearls of Pure Goats’ Cheese; and Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., Point Reyes Bay Blue.
• Non-Food Specialty Item—EcoTensil Inc., EcoTaster Mini.
• Oil—Los Chileros, Stöger Cherry Seed Oil.
• Pasta Sauce—Ritrovo Italian Regional Foods, Ritrovo Selections Casina Rossa Due Formaggi.
• Pasta, Rice or Grain—Luquire Family Foods, Carolina Creole Stone Ground Grits.
• Perishable Foodservice Product—Sukhi’s Gourmet Indian Foods, Pakora & Aloo Tikki Indian Bites Platter.
• Product Line—Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
• Salad Dressing—NaGo Foods, Ginger Sesame Miso Dressing.
• Shelf-Stable Foodservice Product—Effie’s Homemade, Single Serve Oatcakes.
• Snack Food—Pop! Gourmet Popcorn, Rogue Blue Gourmet Popcorn.
• Soup, Stew, Bean or Chili—Sarabeth’s Kitchen, Legendary Velvety Cream of Tomato Soup.
• USDA-Certified Organic Product—Pro Ecuador, Runa Hibiscus-Berry Guayusa Tea.
• Vinegar—Italian Harvest Inc., Sopraffino 12 Year Aged Wine Vinegar.
“The sofi awards honor innovation and excellence,” says Specialty Food Association President Ann Daw. “With a record number of entries this year, the products that emerged as winners truly represent the best examples of the passion, creativity and care specialty food makers are bringing to their craft.”
This spring, a national panel of specialty food professionals convened over eight days to taste and evaluate all entries and select 125 finalists. To determine the winners, more than 150 buyers at the Summer Fancy Food Show sampled the finalist products and cast votes for their favorite in each category. The results were tabulated by an outside accounting firm.
The Summer Fancy Food show is the largest marketplace devoted exclusively to specialty food in North America.