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Nominations opened last month for SmartBrief’s second annual Foodservice Innovation Awards in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, which aim to celebrate exceptional products that help foodservice operators and professionals work smarter, safer and more sustainably.
The 2022 Foodservice Innovation Awards will continue last year’s focus on the categories of sustainability, technology and health and safety. Last year’s 20 winning products ran the gamut from an automated cooking robot to biodegradable drinking straws, and in the past year many of the winning companies have seen their products adopted by new foodservice clients and expanded their product lines to build on their original offerings.
Here’s what five of last year’s Foodservice Innovation Awards winners have been up to in the past year:
Phade straws partnered with First Watch to reduce plastic use
WinCup’s Phade straws won in the sustainability category for their unique composition that gives them the feel of a traditional plastic straw while also being biodegradable in the ocean as well as home or industrial composting systems. WinCup recently partnered with Florida-based chain First Watch, which will replace plastic straws with Phade straws at its more than 440 restaurants over the next two months. The move will help reduce plastic waste by eliminating the 30 million plastic straws First Watch was using at its restaurants each year.
Alto-Shaam upgraded its Vector Multi-Cook Ovens
The Vector Multi-Cook Ovens from Alto-Shaam won in the technology category for their ability to allow foodservice operators to offer a wider range of menu items from a small kitchen. The multi-chamber ovens can cook up to four different items at different temperatures simultaneously, with no flavor transfer. In November, Alto-Shamm expanded the Vector line with a new model that includes more advanced controls and a wider design that can accommodate a 16-inch pizza.
Coca-Cola expanded its Freestyle line
Another winner in the technology category, Coca-Cola Freestyle Contactless Pour allows users to select and dispense beverages from a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine using a smartphone. This year, Coca-Cola expanded the Freestyle lineup with the addition of the Freestyle 8100 designed for use in back-of-house. Coca-Cola debuted the machine at this year’s National Restaurant Association Show, touting its ability to integrate with restaurants’ point-of-sale systems so staffers can queue up beverage orders placed by customers without needing to manually select each flavor combination.
The Alfred Sous-Chef joined the Armed Forces
The Alfred Sous-Chef from Dexai Robotics also won in the technology category for its promise to help foodservice operators focus on customer service by automating certain kitchen tasks with its robotic arm. In February, Dexai signed a contract with the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency to provide 10 Alfred units for use on military bases across the US.
Georgia Pacific brought automated beverage sealer to front-of-house
The Automated Sealing Machine from Georgia Pacific’s GP Pro division won in the safety and health category for its ability to provide a contactless seal for beverages that is tamper-evident and resistant to spills. In May, GP PRO announced the addition of a self-service attachment that transforms the machine into a front-of-house solution that lets customers seal their own beverages, freeing up staff to focus on customer service and back-of-house tasks.
Learn more about SmartBrief’s Foodservice Innovation Awards and nominate a product or products today. Nominations close Sept. 16!
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