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Past sofi Award Winners Cite Marketing Benefits

sofi Awards 2023 with three awards below

Wining a sofi Award provides specialty food makers with a highly effective marketing tool they can use to gain the attention of retail and wholesale buyers, according to past award winners.

“We are huge fans of the program, and really feel like this was made for small artisan brands like us,” said Carrie Morey, president and founder of Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, who has won a total of 23 sofi Awards. “We feel it is incredibly important, and we are beyond honored to have been able to win so many awards and to be able to hang our hat on being recognized.”

The North Charleston, South Carolina-based company’s most recent sofi Award was a Gold Award in the Breads category for its Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit Cheese and Chive Biscuits. Winning a sofi Award helps the company’s brand stand out among a sea of larger CPG competitors, Morey said.

“We definitely highlight winning those awards in every buyer presentation that we make,” she said. “Without being too obnoxious, we do tout it every chance that we get.”

The sofi Awards are well-recognized in the industry, Morey said, and having a winning product catches the attention of buyers, especially at the Fancy Food Shows, where the winners are on display.

“A lot of buyers tell us that is the first place they go at the show, to see who is leading in their category, who has the best new product, and who is winning again and again,” said Morey. “It kind of speaks for itself.”

Elyce Zahn, owner of CocoTutti Chocolates in San Francisco, agreed that winning a sofi Award helps capture the attention of wholesale buyers. These buyers understand that winners have been selected from a competitive field that includes both domestic and international product entries.

“Having that third-party recognition has been nice for our marketing especially,” said Zahn, whose company recently received a second sofi Award, this time a Gold in the Chocolate Candy category for its CocoTutti La Kama Moroccan Spice with Lime product.

“I think it really piques the interest of wholesalers, especially when you have won two awards,” she said. “It shows that we may have value in other products that we may not have entered.”

Winning a sofi Award helps differentiate the brand from competitors that have not won such awards, Zahn agreed.

Kara Young, community manager at Websterville, Vermont-based Vermont Creamery, which has won several sofi Awards, said the company’s sales team leans on the awards as “proof points” of the brand’s quality.

“In our experience, it is something that resonates with potential customers,” she said.

The company’s most recent sofi Award was issued last year for its Vermont Creamery Strawberry Spritz Goat Cheese in the Cheese–Non-Cow Milk category.

“The sofi Award showcases the best and most innovative products, and winning the sofi Award exemplifies our ongoing commitment to innovation, creativity, and high-quality dairy,” said Young. “The award helps to reaffirm our team's commitment to excellence, always prioritizing taste above all.”

Tim Haratine, president of Atlanta-based Built By Bees, agreed that winning a sofi Award helps in marketing his company’s products and in building brand recognition.

“It’s kudos to the product maker,” he said.

Built By Bees has also won multiple sofi Awards, including most recently a Gold in 2022 for its Bee Razzled Honey Shrub product in the Alcoholic Beverages and Cocktail Mixes category.

“sofi is definitely a big award,” said Haratine. “People know about it, and for those that don’t, we tell them about it. We’re proud of our sofis.”

The 2024 sofi Awards have begun accepting entries. More information is available here.