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2018 sofi Awards: Best in Specialty Food Entries Accepted February 1-28

For more than 45 years, the Specialty Food Association has honored the best in the industry with sofi™ Awards. The sofi recognizes culinary excellence and creativity in multiple specialty categories. Throughout February, entries will be accepted for the awards, considered one of the highest honors in the food world.

“Everyone from senior level buyers to chefs take note of sofi winners,” said Phil Kafarakis, President, Specialty Food Association. “These are remarkable products that help shape and grow industry trends and have a big impact on the marketplace. It’s a tribute to the continuing strength of specialty food in retail, foodservice, and with consumers, that we see such interest year after year in the sofi Awards. We can’t wait to see the products entered for 2018.”

The sofi Awards recognize 154 winners in 39 categories, which range from baked goods to vinegar. Sixty food professionals including chefs, culinary instructors, recipe developers, food journalists and specialty food buyers will gather to blind taste all of the entries. Judges will not see packaging, pricing or any brand identification – the focus is on product only.

For additional information on the sofi awards and how to enter click here. Winners will be announced in April, and the 2018 product of the year will be announced at the Summer Fancy Food Show this June in New York City.

Bellucci’s Sicilia PGI Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

One of the world’s most prized liquid treasures is Sicilian extra virgin olive oil. Sicily is an island woven from a fusion of cultures that has resulted in a rich and varied genetic legacy. With its dry summers, lashed by the Sirocco Saharan winds, as well as its balmy winter, the temperate climate influences the spirit of the organic olive trees that have been part of the fertile island since its inception.

bellucci editphoto1To get closer to this island’s treasure groves and fully appreciate the fruits of human toil, Bellucci unveiled at the Winter Fancy Food Show its freshly harvested Sicilia PGI Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil as the newest addition to its Legendary Series. True to its cultivars and origin, Sicilia PGI Organic coats the palate with hints of almond and savory undertones of artichoke, coupled with green tomato. It’s unlike any other extra virgin olive oil – a truly authentic gem.

Why is its PGI certification so important? In 2016, the European Commission approved the Protected Geographical Indication PGI ‘Sicilia’ (Sicily) for extra virgin olive oil produced on the island. Such certifications (PGI) by the European Union promote the development of specific rural regions and populations, which are related to agricultural products with special quality characteristics and protect the interests of both growers and consumers. It is transparency at its best in the greater fight against food fraud.

Consumers seeking greater on-label visibility into the origins of the food in their shopping basket are on the rise. Shoppers seek new depths of information across the market, including organic, responsible production and authenticity. At Bellucci, the mission is to bring “Trust Through Traceability” to the market.

Grilled Cheese Recipe Contest Drives Wisconsin Cheese Sales

It’s almost time for the annual Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown, the largest Wisconsin cheese promotion of the year. Backed by six weeks of marketing and public relations support including digital ads, celebrity judges and more prize money, this year’s promotion will be more successful than ever. Last year’s participating retailers saw up to a 15 percent increase in Wisconsin cheese sales.

This spring, the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown will help create excitement to increase cheese sales for participating retailers. Coverage in national publications including Rachael Ray Every Day and digital media support from Wisconsin cheese provides participating retailers with a menu of tools for custom in-store and online merchandising of the promotion to create a fully integrated omni-channel shopper experience. These customizable assets are designed for retailers to generate impulse sales, cross-merchandise and be promoted on social media. A panel of celebrity judges from national publications and the foodie world will taste and select winners. The event will be covered and winners announced on Facebook Live.

Additionally, regional marketing managers at Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board are working with Wisconsin cheese manufacturers and retailers to create in-store promotions, special branded point of sale displays and live events that encourage sampling and purchase while building awareness for the grilled cheese competition.

Consumers can enter their grilled cheese creations featuring Wisconsin cheese from April 2 through May 15. New to the competition this year, consumers can enter into one of four categories for more ways to win. One grand prize winner will receive $15,000 and be crowned the 2018 grilled cheese champion. More than $25,000 in additional cash and bonus prizes will also be awarded throughout the competition.

For more information about bringing the promotion to a retail store, contact your Wisconsin cheese regional marketing manager. Visit GrilledCheeseAcademy.com for information on how to enter the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown.

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