Rules and Judging

Entries to the Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest are evaluated by category based on their Georgia theme, commercial appeal, taste, innovation and market potential. Registrants should review all rules, guidelines, and judging information.

Contest Rules

Registration is required prior to sample submission and must be completed online. All product information must be entered at time of registration. Products must be registered and paid in full by 5 p.m. EST Feb. 13, 2024, to be considered eligible. All entry fees are non-refundable. Registration is closed for 2024.

A valid food license number or co-packer license number is required at the time of registration. Contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Division for questions concerning licensing.

Entries will be judged on technical aspects such as flavor, texture and ingredient profile. Also considered are potential market volume, consumer appeal and how well the product represents Georgia.

One entry category must be designated for each product during registration. Final product categories and category placements are at the discretion of contest organizers.

All applicants will be featured in the 2024 Flavor of Georgia directory on the contest website, which includes full business and product information as entered at registration.  By entering this contest, the applicant agrees to grant to Flavor of Georgia an unlimited license for the use of its business and product information for the aforementioned purposes. Entrant and product names and images may be used without compensation in the directory and publicity materials. Organizers are not responsible for any claims of infringement and applicant agrees to defend and indemnify the Organizer in the event such claims are brought as a result of Applicant’s entry.

Three finalists per category will be notified by email on March 15, 2024, for advancement to the final round. Details related to the final judging will be included in that email.

Finalists are required to provide samples of their products and participate in the final judging, which includes a three-minute presentation to a judging panel. The finalists contest judging, awards ceremony and reception is set for April 4, 2024. Finalists unable to participate in these events will have their title rescinded and another competitor may be chosen at the discretion of the contest organizers. Travel, lodging arrangements and associated expenses are solely the responsibility of the participating businesses.

Finalists and winners will also receive the use of titles and Flavor of Georgia logos for product promotion. Flavor of Georgia reserves the right to revoke the use of its titles and logos in the event a finalist or winner is later disqualified, is determined to have at any time violated the rules of this contest, or the University determines that further use of the Flavor of Georgia titles and logos by you would diminish the quality and value of such titles and logos.

Decisions of judges are final and scoring sheets will not be released.

Product Guidelines and Standards

Full submission details and the official mailing label will be provided via email once registration is complete.

Only food products fit for human consumption and that are made by Georgia-based businesses are eligible for the contest entry.

TWO product samples must be submitted and will only be accepted on March 11-13, 2024. Submissions received outside of this submission window will not be accepted for judging. The official shipping label MUST be attached to all product samples (emailed following registration). All products must be manufactured, shipped and/or prepared (as applicable) in accordance with safe and legal food preparation guidelines of the State of Georgia.

All products must be properly packed by the entrant to ensure freshness. Packages should be labeled ‘PERISHABLE’ and with other instructions as applicable (ex. ‘FREEZE’ or ‘REFRIGERATE’).

Contest organizers and collaborators will not be responsible for products that are improperly packed, mislabeled, late, damaged, lost or stolen. Contest organizers reserve the right to disqualify any product that, in their judgment, appears to be spoiled or may present a health hazard. No containers or leftover products will be returned.

Consider the presentation of products when packing and shipping for delivery, as they will be professionally photographed for the product directory in the exact state received.  However, do not include any additional materials, props, or other products that are not registered as part of your submission.

A nutrition label is NOT required for submission to the contest. However, any product submitted must be manufactured by a legally licensed facility, including co-packers and cottage food establishments. For more information about nutrition labels and requirements, see Nutrition Facts Panel for your Food Product Label at the UGA Extension Food Science website. Organizers of this contest work independently from this service.

If preparation of a product is required for tasting, please submit all items needed, full instructions, and necessary lead time needed to complete the product.

All beverages and mixers need to be able to be made non-alcoholic, please provide your non-alcoholic beverage of choice to complete the product.

Initial Judging

  • Contest entrants should follow the contest rules and regulations when submitting products for initial judging. Complete details will be sent by email following registration.
  • The day before judging, products will be inspected and photographed for the annual product directory. 
  • A panel of food industry judges will evaluate and score each product. Three finalists will be selected from each category and invited to participate in the final judging. Finalists will be notified on March 15, 2024 by email.

Final Judging and Awards

The final judging is open to the public. Finalists are permitted to invite up to two guests for complimentary entry to the award ceremony and reception. Additional tickets can be purchased closer to the event date.

Finalist participant details and expectations:

What to expect onsite

  • Each business will be given two red Flavor of Georgia aprons that must be worn by the representatives during all the activities of the day.
  • Finalists will have a 6-foot table to exhibit their product. We provide a black table skirt for a white plastic table, two chairs and a trashcan.
  • There is no refrigeration available at the facility, so finalists should make provisions for keeping their product cold or at a safe temperature during the day as needed. There is no kitchen available onsite, so entrants should plan accordingly to bring cooking or heating appliances.
  • Due to space limitations, no more than two representatives from each participating business are allowed at each table.

Final judging policies

  • Products should be represented in the final judging as it was in the submission (same flavor, for example). The product that was entered and named a finalist is the only one that will be considered.
  • Each business is responsible for providing any additional sampling components for the enhanced sample (meat for BBQ sauce, crackers for cheese, etc.).
  • Finalists will be provided with plates, sampling cups and sampling spoons for final judging only.
  • Each judge should receive a plate with two sampling cups – one cup with the product in its original form and the other cup with the product enhanced in any method you would like.
  • All finalists will present one-at-a-time to the judging panel a three-minute pitch about their product and then answer any judge’s questions.

Reception details

  • Please bring additional samples for approximately 100-125 people for the reception. These can be smaller and less elaborate than the samples you will give to judges during your presentation.
  • Be prepared to tell interested guests your story and about your product. You will also want your product to be sampled by your fellow contestants when time allows and vice versa.
  • Only the finalist product is allowed to be sampled during the reception. The sale of any product is NOT allowed.
  • A presentation of awards will be held during the reception announcing each category winner and the Grand Prize Winner.


By registering, you agree to the rules, product guidelines and standards listed for the University of Georgia Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest and further state that all information provided in the entry form is accurate and you are an authorized agent of the enterprise submitting the registration and product. You further attest that the company/product names are listed as they should appear on the potential award and in the contest and press materials. In consideration for the opportunity to participate in the University of Georgia Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, the University of Georgia, and its officers and employees, from any claims, damages, judgments, or losses of any kind arising from your actions, including (i) your non-compliance with the rules of this contest, (ii) your breach of any laws applicable to the product you submit to the contest, (iii) your infringement of the University’s or any third party’s intellectual property rights, and (iv) your failure to cease use of the Flavor of Georgia titles and logos after you have been directed by the University to do so or have otherwise relinquished the right to use such titles and logos. Rules and regulations are subject to change.