The UGA FoodPIC team (Dr. Kirk Kealey, Dr. Dick Phillips, Lauren Hatcher, Bobby Goss, and Gana Otgonbayar) were heavily involved in the 2018 Flavor of Georgia Contest in Atlanta on March 20. This UGA sponsored contest solicits product submissions from food entrepreneurs and companies across Georgia. This year’s event had 125 submissions.
The highlight of the day was presentation of category and grand winner awards by Governor Nathan Deal, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and CAES Dean Sam Pardue. In addition to the team’s staffing a resource booth and explaining FoodPIC to entrepreneurs, Lauren Hatcher, served as a judge of the final products, a six hour marathon of evaluating presentations and products that would challenge the most discerning ear and pallet. A major source of pride for FoodPIC was the selection of three clients as finalists. Rock House Creamery’s New World Chocolate Milk won the Dairy category with major input from the FoodPIC team and our 2 Pike County STEM students (Fall 2016), Courtney Bagwell and Nikki Dodson. Pride Road, LLC’s Hibiscus Jelly was presented by the Muhaimin family, following development at FoodPIC with assistance from Bobby Goss. Ginger’s Bunkhouse Spicy Ginger Ale, Athens was the third finalist in this year’s competition after on-site consultation by Lauren Hatcher and Dr. Kirk Kealey. A number of other participants received advice and guidance from FoodPIC over the past year, including the tea cakes and teas submitted by Stokely Select Limited, Inc. While not making the final round, these products were developed last year by our first FoodPIC summer intern, Emma Johnston. Photos were taken by Sharon Dowdy.