Both traditional Virginia favorites and innovative new products were on display at the Virginia Food and Beverage Expo March 23, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Sponsored by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), this popular trade event connects commercial buyers directly with Virginia specialty food and beverage producers. The Expo takes place once every two years to promote Virginia products and advance economic development.
Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore announced the Best New Product Awards during a ceremony at 11 a.m. This year there were a record 63 entries for awards. The following Virginia companies won this year’s Best New Product competition:
- The Best New Product Overall award went to Mother Shrub of Midlothian, VA, for its Drinking Vinegar.
- Texas Beach of Richmond, VA, took home the Best New Beverage honor for its Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix.
- The Best New Foodaward went to went Gearharts Fine Chocolates of Charlottesville, VA, for its Virginia Malt Whiskey Truffles.
A panel of judges that included chefs and food writers evaluated the Best New Product competition entries on originality, taste and aroma, creative packaging, visual appeal and presentation.
This was a record year for the Virginia Food and Beverage Expo with more than 160 exhibitors, approximately 1,200 pre-registered buyers and 63 Best New Product Awards entries. Past Expos resulted in estimated one-day sale orders of close to $1 million, as well as invaluable connections between buyers and exhibitors.
The next Virginia Food and Beverage Expo is scheduled for 2018, when the agency will mark the 25th anniversary of the event.