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 February 25 by email.

Final Judging and Awards

The final judging is closed to the public, and the awards ceremony and reception is by invitation only. Finalists are permitted to invite up to two guests to the award ceremony and reception. 

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.

Finalist Table Example
Finalist walking to judging room
Sampling during evening reception
Presentation to judging panel

Judging criteria

Entries are 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.