2012 sofi Awards Judging: Round One Begins
Celebrating 40 years of the cream of the crop in specialty foods.user rating
Break out your bibs: This year’s sofi Awards are upon us, meaning 1,935 specialty foods are vying for the coveted title of sofi Gold Award Winner in their respective categories, from snacks to drinks and appetizers to desserts. And 2012 has a cherry on top, marking the 40th anniversary of this delectable event for food lovers and innovators everywhere.
Forty years ago, the inaugural event, presented by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, host of the semiannual Fancy Food Show, was dubbed the NASFT Product Awards. Then, only two categories existed: best domestic specialty product and best international specialty product. Over the years, as specialty food became more widespread and beloved with gourmet retailers popping up across the nation and the more recent advent of retailers such as Whole Foods Markets, two broad awards no longer did the vast market justice. In 1990, the competition was fleshed out with 20 categories; it was further upped to 30—dividing up categories like confections into chocolate and non-chocolate confections to give other sweets a real shot at winning—in 2007, the same year the awards got snazzed up with its current name: the sofi Awards.
The sofi Award has grown to be the most recognized and desirable award in specialty foods. This year is seeing a record number of entries, prompting the first round of judging to expand from three days to a full, 40-hour work week of nonstop sampling and sipping. More judges have been recruited to minimize the risk of lockjaw and food comas as they eat their way through five grueling days’ worth of grub.
Starting Monday, foodspring.com will be getting a behind-the-scenes look at the judging process, scoping out the trends of 2012 and the products you’ll want to scoop up at your local gourmet market. We’ll have updates and new content every day, so keep checking in at foodspring.com, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss any of the action—or the food porn.—Eva Meszaros