UGA Alumni signature events

Flavor of Georgia celebrates tradition of artisan and craft foods

From cheeses to chutneys, craft chocolate to chorizo, the 2015 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest—sponsored by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development—will celebrate Georgians’ creativity and craftsmanship by finding the best products in the state.

“Flavor of Georgia is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain publicity and exposure for their products,” said Sharon P. Kane, a UGA food business development specialist and the contest’s coordinator. “It’s also a chance for them to network with other food entrepreneurs and industry experts.”

Nearly 90 percent of the finalists in the 2014 Flavor of Georgia Contest reported seeing increased interest in their products following the contest, and many others benefitted from increased sales, profits, publicity and website traffic, she said. Some also indicated an increase in full- and part-time employees.

More than 50 percent saw an increase in new contracts within one month of the contest.

A follow-up survey of past finalists, from the 2007 through 2012 contests, found that they attributed about 11 percent of their business revenue to their participation in Flavor of Georgia.

Finalists and winners will be eligible to participate in a number of high-profile industry showcases throughout 2015, including the Georgia Grown Symposium, the Georgia National Fair and showcase days at the Buford Highway Farmers Market. They also will receive industry feedback and use of the Flavor of Georgia finalist logo for their product’s packaging.

Winners will be featured in the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown magazine, a statewide publicity push, a booth at the Georgia Food Industry Association conference, a spot at the Sherwood Food Distributors annual food show and use of Flavor of Georgia winner logo for their packaging.

Contest finalists will be invited to participate in the final round of judging and a public tasting March 9-10 as part of the Governor’s Agricultural Awareness Day in Atlanta.

Food marketing experts, grocery buyers, chefs and Georgia agricultural experts will judge each product based on flavor, Georgia theme, unique or innovative qualities and commercial appeal.

Registration runs through Jan. 30 and includes commercially available products or market-ready prototypes. Product categories include barbecue sauces; beverages; confections; dairy products; jams and jellies; marinades and sauces; meat and seafood; salsas, chutneys and condiments; snack foods; and miscellaneous products. There is no limit to the number of products an individual can submit.

Register and learn more.

UGA Alumni Association announces sixth annual Bulldog 100 list

The University of Georgia Alumni Association has released the 2015 Bulldog 100. This annual program recognizes the fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. More than 450 nominations were submitted for the 2015 list.

The 2015 Bulldog 100 includes businesses of all sizes and from industries such as landscape design, marketing and orthodontics. Several areas of the country are represented, including companies from as far north as Chicago and as far west as Texas. Of the 100 businesses, 88 are located within the state of Georgia. The Atlanta office of Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors verified the information submitted by each company and ranked the businesses based on a compounded annual growth rate during a three-year period.

The public, including UGA alumni and friends, is invited to celebrate the Bulldog 100 honorees at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis on Feb. 7. The evening will begin with a reception, followed by dinner and the awards ceremony.

The awards ceremony will feature a keynote address by Hala Moddelmog, the first female president and CEO of the Atlanta Metro Chamber. Moddelmog graduated from UGA in 1981 with a Master of Arts from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Prior to joining the Atlanta Metro Chamber, Moddelmog was president of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Church’s Chicken.

Following her remarks, members of the Student Alumni Council will lead the highlight of the evening-the release of the final rankings and countdown of the 2015 Bulldog 100.

“Each year, the caliber of the Bulldog 100 businesses illustrates the important role that UGA graduates play in their communities’ economic growth,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, UGA’s executive director of alumni relations. “On campus, important work is being done to prepare students to become leading entrepreneurs. During the annual Bulldog 100 Celebration, I am proud to see the results of that rigorous academic environment.”

To review the alphabetical list of honorees and to learn more about the Bulldog 100, including sponsorship opportunities, see www.alumni.uga.edu/b100.