Groundbreakers: 2021’s Best in Food, Beverage

National Restaurant Association Show lauds plant-based proteins, exquisite flavors, premium ingredients and more
National Restaurant Association Show's 2021 Food and Beverage Awards
Photograph courtesy of the National Restaurant Association Show

CHICAGO The National Restaurant Association Show recently announced the 24 recipients of the 2021 Food and Beverage (FABI) Awards, which celebrate the year’s food and beverage products breaking new ground in taste, creativity and profit potential.

“These 24 products showcase the innovation and creativity that our industry continues to produce,” said Tom Cindric, president of Winsight Exhibitions, Chicago. Winsight LLC also owns CSP.

The FABI Awards program highlights products that revitalize menus and delight operators and consumers. Winners will be featured on The Show To Go, a cost-free digital marketplace where operators can connect directly with the suppliers to learn more about each of these innovative solutions.

The 2021 FABI Award recipients are:

  • Free Wave Non-Alcoholic Hazy IPA, Athletic Brewing Co., Stratford, Conn.: The world's first non-alcoholic Hazy IPA, ringing in at only 70 calories.
  • UNCUT Plant-Based Taco Ground, Before the Butcher, San Diego: This delivers the first ground beef replacement preseasoned with Mexican-style spices for use in tacos, burritos, nachos, taquitos and other recipes requiring a slightly spicy kick.
  • Beyond Chicken Tenders, Beyond Meat, El Segundo, Calif.: These tenders are a result of a decade of innovation from plant-based company Beyond Meat. They have 14 grams of protein and 40% less saturated fat than the leading brand of breaded chicken tenders.
  • Moshi Yuzu Sparkling Water - Unsweetened White Peach, Brooklyn Food & Beverage, Brooklyn, NY: The full flavor pairing of yuzu and white peach with a touch of fizz.
  • Confetti Cheesecake, Eli's Cheesecake Co., Chicago: A housemade layer of yellow confetti cake topped with birthday cake confetti cheesecake and hand-piped vanilla mousse with more sprinkles.
  • Mini Dulce De Leche Pie, Eli's Cheesecake Co., Chicago: Creamy dulce de leche caramel, baked in an all-butter shortbread crust and sprinkled with coarse sugar.
  • Apple & Cranberry Sweet Cream Pantart, Gourmet Culinary Partners, Morrow, Ga.: Combining the light, fluffy texture of buttermilk pancakes with fresh crisp apples and tart cranberries. Finished with swirls of decadent sweet cream and real maple syrup.
  • Maple Sage Sausage Pantart, Gourmet Culinary Partners, Morrow, Ga.: These combine the light, fluffy texture of buttermilk pancakes with savory all-natural sausage and hints of real maple syrup and aromatic sage.
  • Sweet Chili Tofu & Veggie Grain Bowl, Gourmet Culinary Partners, Morrow, Ga.: Partner OakStove Kitchens’ grain bowls are perfect for healthy lifestyles. Light tempura battered tofu, paired with a vibrant garden mix of roasted red peppers, crisp broccoli florets and edamame, drizzled with a sweet chili sauce and placed on a bed of brown rice and tri-color quinoa.
  • Incogmeato Homestyle Chik’n Tenders, Incogmeato, Battle Creek, Mich.: 100% plant-based, with crispy home-style breading and juicy whole muscle texture that looks, cooks and tastes just like chicken.
  • Incogmeato Italian Sausage, Incogmeato, Battle Creek, Mich.: 100% plant-based and looks, cooks and tastes like pork and has 78% less saturated fat than Italian pork sausage.
  • Incogmeato Original Bratwurst, Incogmeato, Battle Creek, Mich.: These have 74% less saturated fat, but look, cook and taste like pork.
  • Gluten Free Pizza Crust 9.5-inch Round, ItalCrust, Newton, Mass.: Made in Italy using deglutinated wheat flour. It’s vegan, non-GMO and certified gluten free.
  • Draft Chocolate Milk, La Colombe Coffee Roasters, Philadelphia: A dose of chocolatey nostalgia blended for modern tastes.
  • White Truffle Infused Spray Oil, La Tourangelle, Berkeley, Calif.: Features complex notes of woods, earth and fruit that are characteristic of the Italian White Alba Truffle. This spray is non-aerosol, using BOV (Bag-on-Valve) technology, which has a uniquely designed BPA-free bag submersed into a pressurized recyclable can, surrounded by compressed air.
  • Chipotle Black Bean Burger, MorningStar Farms, Streetsboro, Ohio: Newly renovated to be 100% vegan, this is MorningStar Farms’ top performing burger, packed with visible vegetable ingredients made with non-GMO soy.
  • Natalie’s Pineapple, Kale, Zinc & Vitamin D Juice, Natalie's Orchid Island Juice Co., Fort Pierce, Fla.: A vibrant combination of hydrating celery, paired with antioxidant-rich spinach and kale. This blend is a natural immune boost with vitamin C-rich pineapples, zinc and vitamin D.
  • Redneck Riviera 1776 Original BBQ Sauce, Red Gold, Elwood, Ind.: Proceeds from each bottle go toward Folds of Honor, providing educational support to the children and spouses of those that have fallen or have been disabled while serving our nation.
  • Original Oat Milk, RISE Brewing Co., Bend, Ore.: It’s simple and pure using only four ingredients: simply organic oats, organic sunflowers, water and a dash of sea salt. It’s organic, non-GMO and gluten-free.
  • Agua Frescas, Sarah’s Homegrown, Keenes, Ill.: Sarah’s Homegrown makes this product with simple ingredients and nothing artificial, promising to deliver made-on-the-farm, high-quality, great-tasting beverages while continuing to preserve the land and support American farming communities.
  • Fire Roasted Mexican Street Corn, Sevillo Fine Foods, Salt Lake City: This is made with super sweet yellow corn kernels individually roasted over an open flame for char-grilled flavor and appearance.
  • Taste Republic Pre-Cooked Gluten-Free Cauliflower Gnocchi, Tribe 9 Foods, Madison, Wis.: This gluten-free pre-cooked cauliflower gnocchi has the form and shape of traditional Italian potato gnocchi but with a twist: It’s loaded with cauliflower.
  • Jimmy Dean Sausage Tots, Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale, Ark.: These tots combine two favorite foods, meat and potatoes, into a savory bite.
  • NAE Fully Cooked Boneless Thigh Wings, Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale, Ark.: A patented boneless, skinless whole muscle chicken thigh uniquely cut to look and eat like a bone-in wing, giving consumers the tender, juicy taste of bone-in wings without the mess.

Each FABI Award submission was evaluated by an independent panel of judges who represent some of the most well-known brands and organizations from the foodservice industry. The award recipients were selected for their exciting new tastes, uniqueness in the market, appeal to the operator community, creative approach to operator challenges, or introduction of new opportunities and profit potential.

The 2021 FABI Award judging panel included:

  • Zia Ahmed, senior director, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
  • Pat Cobe, senior editor, Restaurant Business & FoodService Director, Chicago.
  • Marion Gibson, culinary development director, Aramark, Philadelphia.
  • Aimee Harvey, senior managing editor, Technomic, Chicago.
  • Farley Kaiser, corporate executive chef/culinary innovation manager fresh foods, Wawa, Wawa, Pa.
  • John Li, vice president culinary innovation, Wendy's, Dublin, Ohio.
  • Robin Rosenberg, vice president, chef de cuisine, Levy Restaurants, Chicago.
  • Cammie Spillyards-Schaefer, vice president of culinary and menu strategy, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Lebanon, Tenn.
  • Bret Thorn, senior food and beverage editor, Nation’s Restaurant News, New York.

The National Restaurant Association Show, Hotel-Motel Show is owned and operated by Winsight LLC in equity partnership with the National Restaurant Association.

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