Awards Criteria

The Specialty Food Association’s annual Leadership Awards honor people whose impact is felt across the industry. We look to recognize those who are going above and beyond everyday business for their employees, their communities, and the greater good. These are exceptional individuals who champion specialty food and exemplify the good within our larger community.

Leadership Award categories include:

  • Equity & Opportunity
    • For demonstrating business leadership in advancing best practices in the food industry to create economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for food industry personnel (e.g., employee benefits, equitable practices, diversity and inclusion, engaging and motivating employees in innovative ways.)
  • Citizenship
    • For improving the lives of people and communities through ethical business practices or philanthropic work (e.g., hunger relief, literacy, childhood nutrition)
  • Vision 
    • For pioneering new approaches, innovative products, and business models that have set in motion positive change and progress.
  • Sustainability 
    • For environmental stewardship through sustainable production, ingredient use, packaging, waste reduction, animal welfare, eco- or climate-friendly practices.
  • Outstanding Buyer
    • For championing specialty foods through excellence in product sourcing, merchandising, marketing, or mentoring of food companies.
  • Emerging Leader
    • Recognition for an individual in business less than five years demonstrating outstanding leadership in any of the award categories.

Nominees must be current members of the SFA but can be submitted by any food industry community member. Nomination submissions will not be accepted from PR companies, marketing firms, publicists, or other nominating entities of a similar type. Winners will be profiled in the winter issue of Specialty Food magazine and recognized at the Winter Fancy Food Show.

SFA Board Members may not be nominated during their active terms.