The competition for the University of Georgia’s 2017 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest is coming together, but it’s not too late to enter.
From specialty sweet treats to small-batch pork sausages or pimento cheese made from Grandma’s secret recipe, the Flavor of Georgia contest shines the spotlight on the state's craft food scene.
The registration deadline for this year’s contest is Thursday, Feb. 9. Finalists in each of the contest’s 13 categories will be announced Monday, Feb. 20, and product pitches and final judging will take place in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 21.
The contest, in its second decade, serves as a springboard for food entrepreneurs by assisting them in testing new products, reaching a larger audience, helping craft brands break into new markets and expanding sales.
"Flavor of Georgia participants tell us that the contest provides recognition, credibility and exposure for their products," said Sharon P. Kane, a UGA food business development specialist and the contest's coordinator. "It also provides a valuable resource for networking with other food entrepreneurs and industry experts."
Nearly a dozen of the 2016 finalists had new business contracts within two weeks of last year’s competition, and 85 percent of those finalists reported increased sales. Additionally, 92 percent of those finalists reported that they made new business connections because of the contest.
Product categories for the 2017 contest include barbecue sauces, beverages, condiments and salsas, confections, dairy products, dairy-alternative products, honey, jams and jellies, meats and seafood, meat-alternative products, sauces and seasonings, snack foods, and miscellaneous products. There is no limit to the number of products an individual business can submit.
Judges evaluate each product based on flavor, texture and market innovation. Consumer appeal and the product’s representation of Georgia are also considered.
Registration for the 2017 Flavor of Georgia contest, which is conducted each year by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, is now open at flavorofga.com.
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
A team of food industry experts and grocery buyers selected 33 products to compete in the final round of the University of Georgia's 2016 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest. A record-breaking 135 products were entered into the contest this year in 11 categories.Download Image