ATHENS, Ga. — Judges have selected 30 products to compete in the second and final round of the University of Georgia’s annual Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest. Narrowed from a field of 117 products, the finalists will compete on April 7 in Athens with an awards ceremony following.
The contest is the state’s proving ground for small, upstart food companies as well as established products looking for recognition or new markets. This year’s finalists represent all corners of the state and the best of Georgia’s diverse culinary heritage.
“Year after year, winners tell me that the prestige of the Flavor of Georgia award opens doors for additional business opportunities, whether they are highlighting a product line, considering expanding into new variations, or the launch of a new product or company,” said Sharon P. Kane, contest coordinator and economist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. “They enjoy meeting not only food industry representatives, but other food entrepreneurs, often sharing ideas or stories to help one another.”
Judges for the final round of the contest will include food brokers, grocery buyers and other food product experts. Entries are evaluated by category based on their Georgia theme, commercial appeal, taste, innovation and market potential. Contestants will provide samples to judges while pitching their products in a three-minute presentation. Winners will be named for each category, the overall grand prize, and a people’s choice award, which will be chosen by event attendees.
This year’s finalists are listed by product name, company and city.
- Dusty Boot Cookshed BBQ Sauce, D.B. Cookshed, Lizella
- Southern Sweet Heat, Southbound Provisions, Kennesaw
- Strawberry Balsamic and Rosemary Barbecue Sauce, Aubs Company, Decatur
- Costa Rica Tarrazu Coffee, Grassroots Coffee Roasters, Thomasville
- Georgia Grey Black Tea, Thistle & Sprig Tea Co., Atlanta
- Ginger’s Bunkhouse Spicy Ginger Ale, Bunkhouse Beverages, Athens
Condiments and Salsas:
- Georgia Peach Balsamic Vinegar, A&A Alta Cucina Italia, Johns Creek
- Kiss of Heat, Argentina Gold Foods, Atlanta
- Wildflower Honey Vinegar with Smoky Serrano, Built By Bees, Atlanta
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes, RoHo Bakery, Decatur
- Cookie Butter Pecan Ice Cream, Daddy O’s Ice Cream, Sugar Hill
- Georgia Fried Peanut Cluster – Vanilla, Georgia Fried Peanut Co., Edison
Honey and Related Products:
- Expresso Whipped Honey, Built By Bees, Atlanta
- Fig and Walnut Dessert Topping, MarRay Foods, Atlanta
- Wildflower Honey, White Oak Pastures, Bluffton
Jams and Jellies:
- Apple Fig Pepper Jelly, Wisham Jellies, Tifton
- Orange Meyer Lemon Fruit Spread, Regina’s Farm Kitchen, Atlanta
- Organic Pepper Jelly, White Oak Pastures, Bluffton
Meats and Seafood:
- Smoked Chicken Sausage, Pine Street Market, Avondale Estates
- Wild Georgia Shrimp IQF (Individually Quick Frozen), Anchored Shrimp Co., Brunswick
- 920 Pork Sausage, 920 Cattle & Co., Millen
- Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Butter, Georgia Grinders, Atlanta
- Lemon Cream Cheese, Bootleg Farm, Springfield
- Pecan Hickory Syrup, Sutton Mill Creek Syrup Co., Clarkesville
Sauces and Seasonings:
- Magic Dust Rub, Lane’s BBQ, Bethlehem
- Yard Bird Shake, Southbound Provisions, Kennesaw
- You Saucy Thing Soy Ginger Vidalia, Chinese Southern Belle, Smyrna
- Cheddar Rounds, Charleston & Church, Atlanta
- Spicy Pork Snack Stick, White Oak Pastures, Bluffton
- Vanilla Espresso Pecans, Goodson Pecans, Leesburg
Showcasing Georgia’s Best
Flavor of Georgia is more than a contest, it helps promote and showcase the variety and success of food entrepreneurs in the state. Since 2007, more than 1,500 products have been entered into the contest, and participating businesses have experienced increased sales, business contacts, publicity and overall interest in participants’ products.
Past finalists report that participation in the contest boosts their annual sales by about 20% on average. Taking into account multiplier effects, it is estimated that increased sales from participating in Flavor of Georgia contribute to more than $5.6 million in annual revenue for the Georgia economy, according to a follow-up survey to previous finalists and winners from 2015-2019.
“Not only were these products sold in Georgia, sales have been reported in all 49 other states,” said Kane. Significant sales were reported throughout the Southeast in Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida and South Carolina.
The Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest is organized by the UGA CAES Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development with support from the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Georgia Agribusiness Council.
–University of Georgia