SAN FRANCISCO — The Winter Fancy Food Show had a strong showing during the Specialty Food Association (SFA) Front Burner Pitch Competition at the Moscone Center. Hosted by the SFA Foodservice Council and presided over by chef Joanne Weir, the competition saw three exhibitors pitch their foodservice-ready products to a panel of specialty food buyers. Planeteer reigned supreme after the scores rolled in.
Bob Trently, Pourable Cream Cheese, Savencia Cheese; Christine Lantinen, Fizzy Drink Bombs, Maud Borup; Dinesh Tadepalli, incrEDIBLE – Spoons you Eat!, Planeteer
“It took us two years and 80-plus trials to get the shape and the taste right,” said Dinesh Tadepalli, co-founder, Planeteer.
The U.S. disposes of 100 million plastics after a single use each day, and 91 percent of biodegradable plastic ends up in landfills instead of being reused or recycled. With its spoons, Planeteer aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. Incredible Spoons come in table-size and dessert-size options, and in sweet and savory flavor varieties, including Black Pepper, Caraway Seed, Indian Masala, Vanilla, and Chocolate. The spoons are all natural, vegan, non-GMO, and have a one-year shelf life. They last 45 minutes when used with cold desserts and 25 minutes with hot foods. Planeteer manufactures 50,000 spoons per day, with 1 million spoons eaten since February 2019. The spoons have won multiple awards, including a 2019 SKS Future Food award. In addition, to set off its carbon emissions, Planeteer plants 250 trees for every 100,000 spoons that are made.
Savencia Cheese, Maud Borup and Planeteer were the competitors for the evening.
“The Front Burner Competition is the perfect balance of competition, fun and education. Our members expand their education on the foodservice side of the business while enjoying a competition among their peers,” said Phil Kafarakis, president of the SFA. “It was a great night for everything and we’re excited to see how all thee companies continue to grow in the industry.”
Judges tasted each product prior to the event, then listened to pitches from each entrant. Scores were assigned for innovation, quality, and chef-appeal for foodservice. This year’s judging panel included:
- Stephen Revetria, President, Giants Enterprises, oversees strategy and vision for the entrepreneurial arm of the San Francisco Giants and one of the leading hospitality, event, entertainment and sports consultancy teams in the world.
- Rachel Perez is a category specialist for Tony’s Fine Foods in Sacramento, CA. She has worked in the specialty food business since high school and dove into the cheese world in 2006
- Rafi Taherian, Associate Vice President, Yale Hospitality, Yale University is an innovative food industry leader with a passion for creating exciting new concepts in campus dining with an emphasis on health and wellness
As the champion, Planeteer received a promotional prize package from the SFA, including an ad in Specialty Food Magazine, editorial coverage in Specialty Food News, and more.
The first-ever Front Burner Pitch Competition took place in January 2017 at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.
About the Specialty Food Association
Founded in 1952 in New York City, the Specialty Food Association (SFA) is the leading advocate for the $148.7 billion specialty food industry. Representing makers, importers, entrepreneurs, retailers, distributors and others in the trade, the SFA aims to champion, nurture and connect its members to deliver traditional and innovative new products to consumers that expand consumption of specialty foods. With over 3,800 member companies, the Association helps its members through providing information, research, educational events, and celebrating the industry through its awards programs. The SFA is known for hosting the Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows, and presents the sofi™ Awards honoring excellence in specialty food. Learn more at specialtyfood.com.