The National Restaurant Association has launched an innovations awards program for foods and beverages. Winners will be announced at its annual trade show in Chicago in May. Any new product submitted for consideration must meet one or more of the following general criteria:
- New Product Introduction - product introduced to the U.S. marketplace on or after January 1, 2010 through May 21, 2011
- Product Improvement – significant improvement to an existing product that is clearly recognizable by the operator
- New Process or Preparation – a new way to produce an existing product that improves the product in some way – longer shelf life, better nutritional profile, more nutrient retention, meets new nutrition standards, etc.
- Healthier Nutritional Profile – changes that significantly impact the nutritional profile of the product and can be validated
- Packaging Improvement – a significant change in the packaging of the product that delivers clear benefits to the operator
- Products Designed for Children – new products (and/or new formulations) specifically designed for tougher standards on student feeding
- Incremental Value to the Operator – products that provide real value to operators in terms of price, cost savings, labor savings, time savings, increasing check average, etc.