Judges have selected Georgia Grinders product Limited Edition Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Butter as a finalist 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 October 27 in Athens with a virtual awards ceremony on October 28 to be held at flavorofga.com.
The idea for this Limited Edition flavor came about from Georgia Grinder’s Founder, Jaime Foster, as she has been making her famous Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pies for quite some time now. They decided to capture these flavors into a jar, as it is a true taste of Southern comfort and is the perfect delectable addition to your pantry! The spread contains pecans, cacao powder, sea salt, bourbon extract and natural maple flavor. It has no added sugars or hydrogenated oils.
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 launching a new product or company,” said Sharon P. Kane, contest coordinator and economist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ (CAES) 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.
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.
Name: Jaime Foster
University of Georgia