Based on a few years of Good Food Awards competitions, a few best practices for entering consistently stand out:
- What to enter? Choose your best. Your best doesn’t have to be the most different, most obscure, most innovative. Superlatively executed vanilla and chocolate might be just the panacea for judges’ flavor overload. Don’t underestimate simple and classic.
- What are the ingredients criteria? How can I meet them?
Even while in your product development stages, review past winners and guidelines for the awards. A small ingredients choice can make or break your eligibility and make you stand out from the other entrants….or not.
- How important is packaging? If it isn’t going to be judged, still strive to make your best impression. Even if packaging isn’t judged, avoid the temptation to scrimp on packaging costs. Good impressions still count, and after investing in entering you want your product to arrive in good shape.
- What exactly can I enter? Carefully read the guidelines. If the program specifies 3 flavors / products, entering a box with an assortment of 24 flavors counts as 24 products.
- Now, get your product to the judges. Sometimes batches just don’t come out right and you need to go to Plan B. Make sure you communicate Plan B to the award organizers lest you have a disconnect, sending your products to Plan C (someone’s mouth or the compost bin).
- Label all your food clearly with your company name and the flavor. Imagine being onslaughted with tons of similar foods and having to organize them in short order. Branding your food with a rubber stamp — and nothing else — is a recipe for falling by the wayside. Even if you’re writing on masking tape wrapped on a jar, clearly communicate your company and product identity.
Do you need to enter food awards programs? Of course not. Know your motivation for entering. (To make mom proud?) Know the competition is stiff. (Is the cost to enter worth it?) Awards never hurt when you want your products to stand out in a crowded field. Making products that stand out by themselves is even better.