Bixby Chocolate’s Organic Haiti 70% Dark Chocolate Bar, Maine Grains Oat Milk Bar, and Allagash 16 Counties Beer Brittle have been named the 2023 sofi™ Gold Product Award Winners in the Chocolate, White, and Milk Chocolate and Confectionery (non-Chocolate) categories, respectively. The Specialty Food Association’s (SFA) sofi™ Awards, which have been bestowed annually since 1972, are a top honor in the $175 billion specialty food industry.
The 2023 sofi™ Awards recognized a Gold Winner and a New Product Winner in each of 53 specialty food and beverage product categories. Nearly 2,000 products from domestic and international makers entered the 2023 competition.
“We are honored that our Haiti Dark Chocolate Bar, Maine Grains Oat Milk Bar, and Allagash 16 Counties Beer Brittle have won sofi™ Gold Product Awards in addition to the Maine Grains Oat Milk Bar being named New Product Winner,” says Kate McAleer, owner of Bixby Chocolate. “As entrepreneurs, we want to know that we are creating the best possible product for our customers, and this Award is one of the ultimate stamps of approval. We are so excited our collaborations with other inspiring Maine-based companies are being nationally recognized.”
Bixby will now compete against other category winners for the 2023 sofi™ Gold Product of the Year Award, which will be selected and announced at the Summer Fancy Food Show, hosted in New York City from June 25-27. The Summer Fancy Food Show is the largest B2B-only specialty food industry event in North America.
“We’re honored to be a collaborator with Bixby Chocolate on this delicious line of beer brittle,” states Allagash Brewing Company Marketing Director Jeff Pillet-Shore. “Kate and the wonderful team of chocolate maker and confectioners at Bixby use our beers in such innovative ways; we’re proud to see them honored with such a prestigious award.”
“The sofi™ Awards recognize the best, most innovative products in the Specialty Food Industry and the creative, passionate people who make them,” said SFA President Bill Lynch. “Winning a sofi™ Award can open doors to new markets and expanded business opportunities for the winners, which is central to the SFA’s work on behalf of its member makers and manufacturers.”
The sofi™ Awards competition is open to product-qualified SFA members in good standing. Gold and New Award Winners in each category are featured in the sofi™ Spotlight Pavilion at the Summer and Winter Fancy Food Shows. Winning a sofi™ Award creates added exposure for products with food buyers from top names in supermarkets, specialty retailers, food service, distributors, and the media.
“The power of synergy from our collaboration with Bixby Chocolate is reflected in this recognition of the craft movement in this country by receiving these two awards,” elaborates Maine Grains Co-Founder and CEO Amber Lambke. “We are thrilled that this high-quality, delicious product from Maine has been recognized.”
SFA partners with Rutgers Food Innovation Center in Bridgeton, NJ for sofi™ Awards judging and logistics management. Entries were judged strictly on a blind basis—without packaging, pricing, or any brand identification. Products were judged on taste—including flavor, appearance, texture, and aroma—ingredient quality, and innovation.
About Bixby Chocolate
Bixby Chocolate was founded in 2011 by Kate and Donna McAleer. Located in Rockland, ME, the company’s philosophy about crafting Chocolates with a conscience led the company to become the first bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the State of Maine. More information can be found at bixbychocolate.com
About the Specialty Food Association
The not-for-profit Specialty Food Association (SFA) is the leading membership trade association and source of information about the $175 billion specialty food industry. Founded in 1952 in New York City, the SFA prides itself on being an organization by the members and for the members, representing thousands of specialty food makers and manufacturers, importers, retailers, buyers, distributors, brokers, and others in the trade. The SFA owns and operates the Fancy Food Shows—which are the largest specialty food industry events in North America—as well as the sofi™ Awards—which have honored excellence in specialty food and beverage annually since 1972. The SFA produces the Trendspotter Panel annual predictions, the State of the Specialty Food Industry Report, Today’s Specialty Food Consumer research, the Spill & Dish podcast, year-round educational programming for professionals at every stage in their business journey, and SFA Feed, the industry’s go-to daily source for news, trends, and new product information. Find out more online and connect with SFA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok.