The Viva Fresh Expo is taking a new approach for the second annual Gateway to Innovation Awards by expanding its submissions to all types of innovations from the fast-growing, Tex-Mex corridor.

In addition to packaging designs and new point-of-sale developments, industry members are encouraged to submit a wide variety of innovations included but not limited to new seed varieties, advances in production, machinery, packing facilities and greenhouses; technology or application software, food safety, traceability, sustainability efforts and more.

“We’re not putting categories or limits on the type of innovation to be submitted,” said Dante Galeazzi, President and CEO of TIPA. “Our vision is much broader than a typical new product showcase. We want to recognize excellence in innovation that extends from seed to shelf, and really celebrate the ideas that are improving each and every aspect of fresh produce coming from this region.”

The contest is open to all Viva Fresh exhibitors and sponsors. 24 top tier finalists will be selected to be included in the display case by a panel of judges comprised of retail, foodservice, and produce industry veterans based on a set of strict criteria. All expo attendees will be encouraged to vote live, from the show floor via mobile device, for their favorite innovation to receive the Best of Show Award during the Expo.

“This year, we are reimagining what innovation means in fresh produce. I believe it is our job to bring life to that concept in all its different dimensions and possibilities, and the Tex-Mex corridor creates an ideal space for that,” Jordan Okumura, Editor in Chief of AndNowUKnow and Innovation Committee Chair states. “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity once again and want to thank the Viva Fresh team as we challenge ourselves to bring an array of innovations to the 2019 trade show.”

Applicants may submit their entries at the official application webpage: All applications are due by February 20 and the finalists will be notified by March 25.

“It’s exciting to open up this program to a much wider range of opportunities while showcasing the achievements from the Tex-Mex region,” said Heidi McIntyre, Managing Partner at Full Tilt Marketing. “Last year’s innovation showcase display was a ‘wow’ moment during the Expo that was very well received and we expect to create more buzz this year.”

The finalists will be displayed before and during the Expo on Saturday, April 27 and the overall Best in Show Award will be announced that afternoon, during the show. For more information, visit The 2019 Viva Fresh Expo will be held on April 25-27 at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, Texas.