Industry News | October 17, 2012

Have a Great Food, Beverage Product? Enter FABI Awards

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The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is calling on food and beverage manufacturers that have made significant advancements and innovation in ingredients, preparation, processing, and packaging—be it a new flavor concept, improved nutritional profile, or increased cost/labor efficiencies—to apply for a 2013 FABI Award.

Formerly known as Food and Beverage Product Innovations Awards, the FABI Awards program maintains all the same prestige, under a more memorable, user-friendly name.

Award recipients represent the most innovative consumable products on the market today.

The awards will be presented at the 2013 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show (May 18–21 at Chicago’s McCormick Place).

“The FABI Awards celebrate breakthrough innovation in food and beverage products that drive progress in the restaurant and foodservice industry, fueling guest satisfaction and profitability,” says Mary Pat Heftman, NRA executive vice president, convention & strategic alliances.

“The foodservice trends these products represent offer a window to the future of what Americans will be eating and drinking, whether dining in the restaurant, enjoying at home, or on the go,” she adds. “That's why the National Restaurant Association is committed to identifying and recognizing cutting-edge food and beverages that operators need to drive success."


Brad Nelson, vice president and corporate chef, Marriott International, says, "The reason why it’s so important to recognize these innovations by food and beverage manufacturers is to shine a spotlight on tomorrow’s products.”

All applications are evaluated by an independent panel of industry leaders who represent all commercial and noncommercial segments.

New this year to the panel is William J. Spencer (chief of the Air Force Food & Beverage Appropriated Food Section, Air Force personnel services directorate, San Antonio, Texas).

Spencer will be joining other notable panelists including Carlyn Berghoff (CEO, Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group), John Li (senior vice president, research & development, Bloomin Brands), Greg LaMothe (vice president, restaurant concepts & hospitality, Kimpton Restaurant Group), Jeff McClure (director of culinary services, Sodexo Education Market), Deborah McDaniel (senior director, product innovation & development, McDonald’s USA), Mary Angela Miller (administrative director, Ohio State University Medical Center), Brad Nelson (vice president & corporate chef, Marriott International), Linda Sceurman (national director of nutrition & menu development, ARAMARK Education), Tracy Vessilo (vice president, retail innovations, Compass Group USA), Brian Wilson (senior culinary development chef, Bob Evans Farms), and Ed Wronski (director, culinary & concept development, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts).



The deadline to apply for the 2013 FABI Awards is January 16, 2013. To be considered, all food and beverage product innovations must be introduced in the U.S. marketplace from January 1, 2012–May 18, 2013.

Award recipients will be announced in March 2013. Any new product submitted for the panel of operator experts’ review must fall into one or more of the general categories listed below: 


  • High Marketability—products designed primarily to satisfy a consumer trend that will sell regardless of nutritional profile.
  • Lifestyle—products designed to meet the need(s) of a specific lifestyle or diet such as gluten free, allergens, lower sodium, vegetarian, vegan, raw, etc.
  • Nutritional Profile—products designed with a significant improvement in the nutrition compared to similar products; can be designed primarily for children or focused on menu development.
  • Packaging Improvement—products designed with a significant change in the packaging of the product that delivers clear benefits to the operator.
  • Incremental Value to the Operator—products that provide real value to the operators in terms of price, cost savings, labor savings, time savings, sustainability, prep efficiency, or a longer shelf life. 

The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice, and lodging professionals.

NRA Show 2013 will be held May 18–21 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The event attracts more than 61,000 attendees and visitors from all 50 states and more than 100 countries, and showcases the latest products, services, innovative ideas, up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues, and other growth opportunities than any other industry event.