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Beverage, Snack, Dry Grocery Winners Cited by Buyers

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Innovative products in the beverage, snacks and dry grocery categories were recognized by ECRM and MMR earlier this summer, at a pair of ECRM EPPS events held here.

Beverage Award Winners
Bottlegreen won the ECRM/MMR Buyers Choice Award for its Elderflower Sparkling Pressé during ECRM’s Beverage EPPS held here recently. MoodWater was a finalist for its Canadian spring water.

The two companies were selected from dozens of entries in the award program, which were sampled by retailers during a tasting event at the EPPS. Buyers cast their votes based on product innovation, packaging and taste.

For 26 years, Bottlegreen Sparkling Pressés have been crafted by wine makers who blend natural ingredients with sparkling natural spring water from the heart of Cotswold. The South Woodchester, U.K.-based company’s products are not pasteurized, but rather cold filtered to 0.2 of a micron which, according to the company, removes all sediment and protects the delicate flavor. They contain no artificial flavors, colors or added sweeteners, are all-natural, gluten free, non-GMO, and are vegan friendly (except Ginger and Lemongrass, which have a dash of honey ­added).

As part of its green initiatives, the company reduces water consumption 1 million gallons per year by using recycled water to rinse and sterilize bottles.

Toronto-based MoodWater’s naturally alkaline Canadian spring water was developed to appeal to Millennials and parents with children by adding fun to their bottled water consumption via socially shareable packaging. The bottles are available with a variety of printed “Moodicons,” or icons — along with associated hashtags — that enable consumers to express their current mood. These include #energetic, #healthy, #grumpy, #sassy, #pride, #silly, #lazy, #athletic, #happy and several others. They are tied to regular social media marketing campaigns run by the company.

At ECRM’s Summer Snack & Dry Grocery EPPS, also held here in late July, SunTree Snack Foods and Montana Mex were the winners of the ECRM/MMR Buyers Choice Awards for the snack and dry grocery categories, respectively. Vintage Italia and Florapharm were finalists in the award program.

The two companies were selected from dozens of entries in the award program, samples of which were sampled by retailers during a tasting event during the EPPS. Buyers cast their votes based on product innovation and packaging, and taste.

Snack Award Winners
SunTree Snack Foods, which took first place for its Nilla Almond Snacks, has been producing private label nut, seed and dried fruit products for more than 20 years, and launched its SunTree brand product line in fall of 2016, for which all of product development, sourcing, production, packaging and distribution is done from its headquarters in Phoenix. SunTree Snack Foods is certified SQF Level 3 and is Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliant, as well as certified organic and kosher, and the company is able to produce all-natural and gluten-free products.

SunTree teamed up with Mondelez International to launch two co-branded almond snacks last fall — a Nilla almond snack and an Oreo almond snack — and is launching a Honey Maid co-branded almond snack later this year. According to the company, its almond snacks are made with cookie-crusted and creme-coated California Almonds, creating a flavor combination that’s both familiar and all-new. Its Nilla almond snack is banana creme coated and Nilla wafer crusted, and has been its bestselling flavor since its launch.

Finalist Vintage Italia, parent company behind Pasta Chips and new Pasta Bow Ties, offers Italian-inspired snacks created by baking fresh pasta dough for a better-for-you chip or cracker alternative. The brand launched its first innovation, Pasta Chips, in 2013 and in doing so created an entirely new snacking category — snacking pasta.

For its Pasta Bow Ties, the company teamed up with the popular ugly sweater brand, Tipsy Elves, to co-design festive packaging for its bestselling Honey Butter, Meatball Parm, Creamy Ranch and Smooth Cheddar flavors. Pasta Bow Ties are a puffed, crunchy pasta snack on the market designed to occupy an entirely new snacking category of snackable pasta. It’s crafted from quality durum wheat semolina flour and integrates farro, a higher-protein grain, for a more nutrient-dense product, boasting only 120 calories per serving.

Dry Grocery Awards
Montana Mex, which took first place in the dry grocery category for its Sweet & Spicy Habanero Sauce, has developed a range of clean label condiments to provide consumers with a complete kitchen tool kit. The company was cofounded by Chef Eduardo Garcia, who has a documentary coming out next year. (See trailer at www.chargedfilm.com). It also partners with the Challenged Athletes Foundation helping to spread health and positivity through sport and food.

The company’s Sweet & Spicy Habanero Sauce was developed to provide habanero heat but with enough sweetness to keep consumers grabbing for more. Organic certified, non-GMO, kosher, vegan and gluten free, it can be used as a dipping sauce, marinade, table sauce or drizzling condiment for meat, fish or vegetables.

Finalist Florapharm Tea USA is part of the Florapharm group, which was founded over 20 years ago in Germany, starting off with just eight varieties of tea and now offering more than 1,000 from its production plants in Hinesville, Ga.

Its TeaBreak Sunberry Fruit Infusion combines the flavors of ripe raspberries, strawberries and elderberries, and is an intense ruby red color. According to the company, it’s vegan, kosher, GMO free, and caffeine free, with the ingredients of apple pieces, hibiscus petals (34%), rose hips (10%), elderberries (7%), artificial flavor, orange peels, strawberry pieces (0.5%) and raspberry pieces (0.5%).

Joseph Tarnowski is vice president of content for ECRM.


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