Innovation Awards Draw New Products, Acclaimed Industry Judges and Public Support at the Nation’s Largest Regional Food Show

Fresno, California – February 27, 2013…The 2013 Fresno Food Expo presented by Union Bank is excited to announce the innovative new products and celebrity judges who have come forward to participate in a new awards program that looks to build community and consumer awareness about the diverse food products grown and manufactured in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The Inaugural San Joaquin Valley New Product Awards presented by Baker, Peterson & Franklin CPA, LLP, provides an opportunity for Fresno Food Expo exhibitors to enter their new food product, varietal or packaging concept for an opportunity to compete for the “Fresno Food Expo Industry Award” and the “Fresno Food Expo People’s Choice Award.

A total of 55 new products were submitted to the New Product Awards from 32 different San Joaquin Valley-based companies. Products entered range from fresh produce and innovative packaging concepts; to gourmet sauces and cheeses; to flavor infused olive oils and peanut hot sauce; to cilantro flavored vodka and everything in between – all highlighting the rich diversity of food and beverage products coming from the region from both new and well-established companies. Individual products submitted as part of the Inaugural San Joaquin Valley New Product Awards can be viewed now at or by visiting the Facebook page at

“The San Joaquin Valley New Product Awards provide an elevated platform to tout the amazing products made exclusively in the San Joaquin valley – further enforcing our position as a leader in the food industry and recognizing our own local companies as industry trendsetters,” said Mayor Ashley Swearengin, City of Fresno.

The “Industry Award” will be reviewed, ranked and narrowed to four entries prior to the Fresno Food Expo by marketing and food industry leaders based upon innovation, marketability, creativity and presentation. The second round of judging will take place at the Fresno Food Expo on March 14 by a panel of celebrity judges comprised of three industry experts including world renowned chef, restaurateur and hotelier Erna Kubin-Clanin, who is the owner of 5-star restaurant Erna’s Elderberry House and Château du Sureau, Villa Sureau and Spa du Sureau. Erna’s accomplishments have been featured in Bon Appetit Magazine, Travel and Leisure, as well as major daily newspapers in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and so much more. Also serving as a celebrity judge is Faye Greenberg, Executive Director of Deli and Bakery for Save Mart Supermarkets, whose extensive culinary and grocery store background combined with Save Mart Supermarkets’ 61-year-history as retail food store innovations, adds industry and retail understanding and expertise to the awards. Lastly, Don Schrack, food and beverage industry expert, and recently retired journalist for the fresh produce industry’s premiere trade publication, The Packer, will offer an in-depth knowledge of the industry as a whole.

The extensive experience each of the celebrity judges brings to the awards is their unique understanding of an ever-changing consumer market and the value of the introduction of new, innovative products and concepts within an astute and very competitive industry. To learn more about the each of these celebrity judges, visit

Accompanying the “Fresno Food Expo Industry Award” is the “People’s Choice Award” which gives the public the opportunity to vote for their favorites as a consumer. Public voting is currently underway on the Fresno Food Expo website and Facebook page and has captured more than 1,500 votes for various new products during the first week of voting alone. Votes are counted by the number of “Likes” or emailed votes that each product receives which will boost product awareness online and give added promotional value and marketplace energy to participating companies and the San Joaquin Valley as an industry powerhouse.

The San Joaquin Valley is internationally known as one of the world’s most productive, diverse and distinct agricultural regions and generated more than $105.81 billion in economic impact in 2011 alone. The region has branded itself as an ideal place to find local sourcing solutions, innovative products and leading-edge packaging. The San Joaquin Valley also represents over 69% of the commodities in California including 100% of Raisins, 99% of Pistachios, 90% of Oranges, 86% of Almonds and is home to 7 of California’s top 10 Agricultural producing counties. The region’s proximity to fresh products and access to markets around the world, has not only made this region the most productive place for growing and processing food and beverage products, but has become the starting ground for innovation in the food industry.

The 2013 Fresno Food Expo will be held on Thursday, March 14, 2013, at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center New Exhibit Hall. For more information on the Fresno Food Expo or the San Joaquin Valley New Product Awards, please visit

The 2013 Fresno Food Expo is made possible in part by the support of the following well-known Valley businesses that have signed on as sponsors in support of the regional food show and its mission:

Major Sponsors:
• KMJ Newstalk 580
• Baker, Peterson & Franklin, CPA, LLP
• Lyons
• Busseto Foods
• State Center Community College District
• California Centers for International Trade Development
• Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company
• California Raisin Marketing Board
• Union Bank
• Certified Meat Products
• Valley Lahvosh Baking Company
• City of Fresno
• Van-G Logistics
• Cuties by Fowler Packing
• Wawona Frozen Foods
• Gerawan Farming Prima Brand
• Wawona Packing Company
• Johanson Transportation Service
• Wells Fargo

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