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Fresno Food Expo New Product Awards adds Buyer's Choice Award

The 2014 Fresno Food Expo, presented by Union Bank, announced the return of the highly anticipated Fresno Food Expo New Product Awards, presented by Baker Peterson Franklin CPA LLP. These awards showcase innovative products and packaging solutions from California's San Joaquin Valley.FFE-UB date clr

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. Judging will be based on marketability, presentation and packaging, and innovation and creativity.

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," Brean Bettencourt of Bella Viva Orchards said in a press release. "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. 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 Co., said winning the award made a difference in them securing new retail locations.

The public can vote for their favorite new product as part of the "People's Choice Award June 20 until July 22. 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.

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.

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 June 13 at 5 p.m.

Applications and additional information are available at: http://www.fresnofoodexpo.com/node/96/new-product-awards

"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," Amy Fuentes, local business initiatives manager for Fresno, said in the press release. “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 July 24 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, visit www.FresnoFoodExpo.com.