Farm fresh-food store Stew Leonard’s recently announced the winners of the inaugural Stew’s Tank competition to identify exciting New York State-made products to sell in its six New York and Connecticut locations (a seventh is slated to open in Paramus, NJ, this fall).
The four winners went through an exhaustive two-month long online application, in person presentation and in-store demo/sampling process. Among the winners were Plainview natives Laura and Robert Ubriaco, who got their Halesite Habanero Hot Sauce on the shelves. The hot sauce is an organic, small-batch sauce made with fresh ingredients. Other winners include Bacaro Original Foods Eggplant Meatballs, Kitu Super Coffee and The Famous Meatballers.
The winning products, which beat out more than 130 entries from all over New York, will appear on Stew Leonard’s shelves starting in August. They will hopefully join the ranks of rock star brands Stew Leonard’s has launched at retail, such as Newman’s Own, Bear Naked Granola and Butera’s Meatballs.
“Every day, I see a line of vendors at Stew’s just waiting for the chance to pitch their product to our buying teams,” Stew Leonard, Jr., president and CEO of Stew Leonard’s, said. “Stew’s Tank was a great way for us to get our customers involved in finding new and innovative products from local suppliers. We can’t wait to run another Stew’s Tank competition again soon.”
In May, New York based food companies were invited to apply via an extensive online application, which gave them the opportunity to present their products directly to Stew Leonard’s buying team. The 12 finalist products were then sold for a month at the Stew Leonard’s store in East Meadow, where their sales were tracked by the buying team. The bestsellers were judged by Stew Leonard, Jr and other company executives. The winners announced at the East Meadow store.
Given the number of shoppers at Stew Leonard’s store, more than 20 million annually, winning the Stew’s Tank competition is likely to be a business game-changer for the companies which make the victorious products.