Editorial: And the Award Goes to...

By Len Monheit

In recent years, the number of awards available to industry companies has proliferated. From Frost and Sullivan to NBJ awards to the Nutraward presentation each March, companies can apply in numerous categories to have their accomplishments recognized in the trade media. The NBJ awards are by far the most ‘broad spectrum’. Announced each winter, presented several months later, these awards recognize innovation yes, but other milestones and accomplishments as well, such as corporate growth and best deal (acquisition). And if you check industry notices and releases, frequently you’ll see these awards as the trigger for corporate communications and some victories appear in product ads as much as years later.

Many awards are self-subscribed, that is, a company must submit itself for consideration. Does this cheapen the process? I’d say, emphatically not in most cases, since you still have to be judged a worthy recipient, presumably by a panel of appropriately qualified judges. In some cases, yes, this process is relatively automatic, but even in these situations, the provider’s reputation is at least a little at stake.

Are awards in general worth the application process?

I heard a quote attributed to Michael Jordan some time ago. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,” he was alleged to have said. Whether he did or not, the saying holds true for many aspects of life and business. So as far as awards are concerned, if you don’t apply, you won’t win. In other words, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

When it really comes down to it, the work involved in many of the application processes is dwarfed by the potential benefit and recognition. From the first announcement to the formal presentation, to the follow up communications and photo opportunities (plaque in hand), the mileage that savvy companies can garner from a business award is quite significant. And while I don’t want to endorse hyper-commercialization of the process, it’s really quite evident that some companies have this process down to a fine art – and have leveraged their victories well.

As we head into the home stretch of 2008, there’s an old award to note and a new one about to make its mark. The traditional Nutraward (http://www.nutraconference.com/nutraward/index.cfm) was created to reward and recognize companies that are investing in rigorous and measurable scientific studies to prove the efficacy of their proprietary ingredients or technologies. The criteria include scientific merit, efficacy, market potential, innovation and more and the slate of winners is quite impressive. In upcoming weeks, the call for submissions will open again, for Nutraward 2009, to be presented at SupplyExpo in Anaheim in March of next year.

New this year is a Nutraward finished products category. According to early news, this award will recognize the most promising appearance of an ingredient in a finished product format, and I would imagine the best presentation of candidates will involve a collaborative submission by ingredient and finished product companies.

As more information becomes available, we’ll b sure to keep you posted. It’s very apparent however, just by looking back through the slate of product introductions in recent months, that there are numerous candidates for both of these product awards.

Let the judging begin...

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