Business & Economy

State’s top food products make finals of 2018 Flavor of Georgia contest

Judges selected 33 products to compete in the final round of the University of Georgia’s 2018 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest in Atlanta on March 20.

The contest is the state’s premier proving ground for small, upstart food companies as well as time-tested products. This year’s finalists represent all corners of the state and the best of Georgia’s diverse culinary heritage.

The finalists passed the first round of judging and were selected from a field of 126 products in 11 categories.

Finalists will bring their products to Atlanta for the final round of judging, which will be held in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Awareness Week celebration March 19-23.

Georgia Commissioner of ­Agriculture Gary Black has designated March 20 as Flavor of Georgia Day.

“Georgia is home to some of the best and most creative minds in the food business, and each year the Flavor of Georgia contest helps to showcase that talent,” said Sharon P. Kane, contest coordinator and economist with the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

A food business development specialist, Kane and her center colleagues have organized the annual contest since 2007.

“The legacy of excellence and camaraderie that our Flavor of Georgia finalists and winners have achieved continues to be remarkable,” she said. “It is a competition, but it’s also a family. Over the years, contestants have built collaborations and networks that continue to support and enhance food entrepreneurship in Georgia, from the coast to the mountains. It’s not just great food, it’s economic development.”

Judges for the final round of the contest will include food brokers, grocery buyers and other food industry experts. They evaluate entries by category based on their Georgia theme, commercial appeal, taste, innovation and market potential. Contestants will provide samples to judges and pitch their products in a Shark Tank-style presentation. Finalists will be named in each category, and a grand prize winner and People’s Choice Award winner will be named.

More information about the contest is at Follow the contest on Twitter @FlavorofGA or on Instagram at