Viva Fresh Gateway to Innovation Awards: The Products, Packaging, and Innovators, Part 1
- by Jordan Okumura
SAN ANTONIO, TX - With the goal of recognizing excellence in technology, packaging design, new product development, food safety, machinery, and software, the Viva Fresh Expo launched its inaugural Gateway to Innovation Awards this year. I was honored to chair this year’s committee, which brought the 2018 program to fruition, and I’d like to take a moment to further highlight some of those award winners that graced the show, in Part 1 of this 2 Part series.
And it only makes sense to kick off this feature with Best in Show! Announced Saturday, April 7th on the show floor, ScanTech Sciences received this first-ever Viva Fresh Best in Show award, which was voted on by the show’s attendees and exhibitors. Find out a little bit about some of these award winners below...
Best in Show Awards and Most Innovative Food Safety Solution: ScanTech Sciences: Electronic Cold-Pasteurization
“At ScanTech Sciences, we are honored to be recognized by the judges for excellence in food safety, but we are even more grateful for the popular vote that showed support from the produce community,” Antonio Elosua, Customer Integration Manager, shares with me. “We applaud AndNowUKnow and the Texas International Produce Association for creating these awards to encourage and celebrate innovation in the produce industry. The ScanTech Sciences team has been working diligently to provide a next-generation food safety treatment to drastically reduce the incidence of foodborne pathogens.”
ScanTech’s Electronic Cold-Pasteurization is a post-harvest food treatment that showers food commodities with controlled amounts of electricity via high-energy ionizing electrons. According to the company, these electrons sterilize pests, destroy pathogens, and kill bacteria and can be used on commodities such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.
Most Innovative Value-Added Solution: Mastronardi Produce: SUNSET® You Make Me™ Pasta Kits
“We’re thrilled to receive the first annual Gateway to Innovation Award for our You Make Me pasta kits,” CEO Paul Mastronardi shared in a recent press release. “Our goal is to always lead our industry in innovation and I’m pleased to add You Make Me to our roster of award winning items.”
SUNSET’s You Make Me pasta kits were uniquely designed to provide busy consumers with a healthy and fast meal solution using fresh produce. Each kit features fresh SUNSET tomatoes, perfectly portioned pasta, a spice packet, and some come with gourmet infused oil. You Make Me is available in four different flavors: Classic Italian (“You Make Me Fresh”), Spicy Arrabbiata (“You Make Me Hot”), Creamy Parmesan (“You Make Me Blush”) and Cold Pasta Salad (“You Make Me Chill”). Each kit serves dinner for two or makes four sides, and can be prepared in 15 minutes or less, according to the company.
Most Innovative Equipment: Fox Packaging: Pouch Bagger
"Our team at Fox Packaging understands our customers' needs and we work tirelessly to innovate solutions and bring a high-quality product to market," Aaron Fox, Executive Vice President, tells me. "With shows like Viva Fresh, I hope that our industry can continue to raise the bar on ingenuity and Fox will be here to help lead that charge."
The Pouch Bagger, by Fox Solutions, was designed specifically for the fresh produce industry and can handle a wide variety of fresh produce items while simplifying the pouch bagging process and delivering maximum bagging efficiency, according to the company. It holds 300 empty bags at a time and filling up to 30 bags a minute. This piece of equipment uses its advanced “soft fill” feature to gently handle apples, peaches, pears, and plums to minimize bruising during the packing process. Utilizing, Fox Packaging’s Stand Up Combo Pouch Bag—which features a mesh component for increased ventilation—the Pouch Bagger is bringing together two innovations to bring more value to Fox’s customers.
Most Innovative Vegetable Product: Love Beets USA: Honey + Vinegar Golden Beets
“We are so excited to have won the Most Innovative Vegetable award for our new diced Honey + Vinegar Golden Beets. The flavor profile as well as the diced format of this product pushes the envelope of innovation and consumer convenience. It is the epitome of “no mess, no fuss” and the packaging’s peel and reseal format adds to the product’s appeal. This fresh offering of beets is unlike anything else on the market and adds a flavorful and colorful element to a variety of dishes,” said George Shropshire, General Manager of Love Beets.
The company’s Honey + Vinegar Golden beets are diced, steam-cooked, and ready-to-eat; containing fresh, all-natural ingredients that include golden beets, white vinegar, honey, and root fiber. The flavorful and unique product has a shelf-life of 36 days and will cut shrink at the store level significantly and create the utmost convenience for not only the retail space, but the consumer as well, as the company notes.
Congrats to the winners of this inaugural Viva Fresh Gateway to Innovation Awards program, I look forward to watching this program rise to the next level in 2019! Stay tuned for a snapshot of the awards for Most Innovative Vegetable Packaging or POS Solution, Most Innovative Technology Application or Software, Most Innovative Fruit Packaging or POS Solution, and Most Innovative Fruit Product.