The Virginia Food and Beverage Expo, sponsored by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), took place on March 26. The Expo takes place once every two years to promote Virginia products and advance economic development.
Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore announced the Best New Product Awards. This year there were 63 entries for awards in three categories – Best New Food, Best New Beverage and Best Product Overall.
- The Best New Product Overall award went to Ashburn Sauce Company, Inc. of Virginia Beach, Va., for their “Crabby Mary” Bloody Mary Mix.
- The Best New Food award went to The Letner Company, LLC of Virginia Beach, Va., for their Molina Salsa – Mild Flavor.
- Blue Crab Bay Co. of Melfa, Va., took home the Best New Beverage honor for their Jalapeno Infused Margarita Mixer.
A panel of judges that included food writers, reporters and a chef evaluated the Best New Product competition entries on originality, taste and aroma, creative packaging, visual appeal and presentation. Judges were Lisa Antonelli Bacon, "Virginia Living"; Lorraine Eaton, "The Virginian-Pilot"; Cathy Jett, "The Free-Lance Star"; Sean Murphy, Executive Chef at The Savory Grain; and Denise Purcell, "Specialty Food Magazine."
This was a record year for the Virginia Food and Beverage Expo with more than 140 exhibitors, approximately 1,100 pre-registered buyers and 63 Best New Product Awards entries. Past Expos resulted in estimated one-day sale orders of $1 million, as well as invaluable connections between buyers and exhibitors.
The next Virginia Food and Beverage Expo is scheduled for 2016.