Fairs & Events

Plant-Based Innovations Secure Top Honors in 2024 Food and Beverage (FABI) Awards

The 2024 National Restaurant Association Show is spotlighting the future of the foodservice industry, showcasing 35 innovative products honored with the Food and Beverage (FABI) Awards.

Over one-third of the awards were given to plant-based products, reflecting a growing consumer trend towards more sustainable and eco-friendly dietary choices. Among the top accolades, 10 products were distinguished as FABI Favorites, chosen for their standout innovation and potential to inspire culinary trends. 

“Technological innovation is poised to cater to evolving dietary preferences”

Products are assessed for their novelty, market uniqueness, appeal to operators, and their innovative solutions to industry challenges, including sustainability and consumer demand for healthier options.

Tom Cindric, the show’s president, noted, “These 35 exceptional products, including the 10 FABI Favorites, have truly captured the essence of innovation at the Show, pushing the boundaries of culinary creativity and setting the stage for emerging trends in food and beverage. From AI-generated plant-based formulas to innovative flavor combinations, these products showcase the dynamic landscape of cuisine and promise to shape the ongoing evolution of the industry.”

Black Sheep Foods
© Black Sheep Foods

This year’s plant-based FABI Favorites include:

Plant-based Meat Bites by Black Sheep Foods: These bites, crafted from peas and gamey grains without soy or processed binders, offer a novel take on lamb and steak flavors from Black Sheep Foods.

Flavor Fresh Gourmet Vegan Ranch by DYMA Brands: DYMA Brands was the first to market vegan ranch in single-serve packages. Its vegan ranch is made with chickpea broth and is great as a dip for veggies, pizza, or fries or as a classic salad dressing.

Prime Roots X Fabrique Délices Pâté: Originally launched in October 2023, this collaborative product from Prime Roots and Fabrique Délices is a pâté made from koji, a fungus strain commonly used in soy sauce and miso.

Zero Acre Cooking Oil: Zero Acre Farms produces this cultured oil from sugarcane, boasting a low carbon footprint and high efficiency in land and water use.

Jeff Nobbs, CEO and co-founder of Zero Acre Farms, expressed enthusiasm for the recognition: “In an ever-changing restaurant industry, operators are seeking competitive advantages that both improve efficiency and/or food quality while increasing customer satisfaction. We’re thrilled to receive the 2024 FABI Award because it reinforces the value that we’re providing operators across the industry with our Zero Acre oil, which is a superior all-purpose cooking oil that meets the needs of both chefs and patrons looking for an option that’s better for people and the planet.”

prime roots pate
© Prime Roots – Photo by Andrea D’Agosto

Additional plant-based awardees

Beyond the highlighted FABI Favorites, the 35 award recipients encompass a wide range of products that signify the industry’s diversity and creativity. Other notable plant-based products making the list include:

Influence of tech innovation

Zia Ahmed, senior director at The Ohio State University and a 2024 FABI judge, pointed to the influence of technological innovation in meeting evolving dietary preferences and shaping the future of cuisine. She stated, “As we look ahead, technological innovation is poised to cater to evolving dietary preferences, offering plant-based foods with intensified flavors and reimagining traditional beverages and foods in alternative formats. These trends, while initially leading to innovation, are set to shape the future of cuisine while maintaining a focus on nutritional balance and sustainability.”

The 2024 National Restaurant Association Show will run from May 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

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