Sensory Experience Contest

Contest Information

How Do I Enter?

Review judging criteria under the “Finalist Selection Criteria” section and submit the following requirements to Sarahi Dominguez by August 30:

  1. Short description of your innovative, produce-centric dish/recipe
  2. Standardized recipe
  3. Company logo
  4. Color picture of your dish
  5. Name, phone number(s), and email address for the on-site contact

Be sure to read and understand the finalist’s selection criteria as well as the on-site judging criteria before you begin!

Finalist Selection Criteria

10 Finalists will be selected by a panel of buyer judges, using the criteria below:

  • Produce-Centric: Produce should be the primary ingredient. Any ingredient(s) can be used; though it must remain obvious that produce is the star of the dish.
  • Innovative: Recipes should be innovative and creative, with an obvious end-goal of selling your product to a chef, operator, and/or consumer. Innovation and creativity should not preclude the recipe from being easily replicated in a consumer or commercial kitchen.
  • Visually Appealing: Dish should have "eye appeal" and be vibrant and colorful. Chefs, operators, and consumers should be able to easily replicate the dish's taste and appearance in their own kitchens.
  • Kid-Friendly: Dish should appeal to children and be easily replicated in a school or consumer kitchen. A rule of thumb is to ask, "Would a kid i know eat this?"

Additional Considerations:

  • Recipe Name: The name of your recipe should let consumers know what to expect when they order/eat your dish. Creativity is welcome here, though not as important as clarity.
  • Health Value: While not mandatory to disclose in your entry, judges do consider if your recipe offers perceived nutritional or health value.

Finalist Preparation

Finalists will be notified via email with specific instructions. In general, finalists will need to provide/consider the following:

  • Make arrangements with catering to provide 100 samples of your dish for use at the judging event (buyers and kids). 
  • If possible, finalists should bring samples of their product (not the actual recipe) to be included in a goodie bag for the kid judges (25+) to take home following the taste. 
  • Your company will be provided with a “station” at the judging event from which to serve your samples. Up to (2) representatives of your company may staff the station (at least one must be present). Finalists may choose to decorate their stations, and you will be provided with recipe booklets and cards to handout during the event. Winners will be announced and awards will be given at the end of the judging event.
  • All Finalists' recipes will then be sampled at the Fresh Ideas In Action Reception, taking place immediately after the judging event. The winning recipe will be highlighted, and PMA will cover this portion of the catering expense for all finalists. 
  • Plan to attend and invite current and prospective customers and press to the Fresh Ideas in Action Reception! Anyone with a badge is welcome.

On-site Judging Criteria

Each finalist will be given a station to serve their samples from. Your company representative will provide information about your dish and samples to each of the key buyers, industry experts and local kids during a private judging event.

In addition to the criteria used in advance to determine finalists, judges will evaluate recipes on-site based on:

  • Taste: Is the dish flavorful? Is there a balance of salty, sweet, sour, and/or bitter?
  • Aroma: Is the aroma appealing and enticing?
  • Presentation: Does the dish look fresh and desirable? Is the dish something you would order in a restaurant and/or serve to your family and friends?

Judges’ scores will be tallied and the winner will be highlighted at the Fresh Ideas in Action Reception immediately following the judging event


  • Framed Award
  • Recognition in PMA PR
  • Recognition at the Fresh Ideas In Action Reception
  • Recognition in the Innovation @ Work area
  • Recognition on PMA's website including photos

Get Your Recipe in Front of High Power Buyers!

Our 2016 panel of buyer judges included:

Jill Overdorf, Coosemans Shipping of LA
Fabiana Gil, Disney
Scot Olson, Grocery Outlet, Inc.
Casey Benedict, Kitchen Play
Tom Wheeler, Mollie Stone
Mary Wright-Rana, Pro*Act
Greg Calistro, Save Mart Supermarkets
Jim Sarcletti, SUPERVALU
Nancy Johnston, Sysco
Ron McCormick, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Russ Mounce, Sam’s Wholesale Club
Jerry Goldsmith, Spartan Nash


Sarahi Dominguez

Sarahi Dominguez

Event & Program Manager

+1 (302) 781-5853

Email Sarahi

Sally Bedwell, CMP

Events & Programs Manager

+1 (302) 607-2143

Email Sally