Superior Taste Award
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2011)|
The Superior Taste Award is an annual non-competitive prize open to any food or drink product available on a retail basis, subject to payment of an entry fee of Euro 750-1650. The awards have been made since 2005 by the International Taste and Quality Institute (iTQi), based in Brussels, Belgium. In 2012, over 75% of submitted products were given an award.
Products are blind tested by a panel of judges and scored out of 100 (first impression, appearance, smell, texture, taste and aftertaste), on their own merits, not competing against other products.
All food and drink products that are available in stores are eligible to participate in the testing. 340 different product categories are provided. Products are submitted by companies of all sizes, from small manufacturers to large international companies.
Entry fee 
As of 2012, entry fees are as follows (reduced fees apply if more than one product is submitted):
- Euro 750 (company turnover less than Euro 250,000)
- Euro 1090 (company turnover less than Euro 10 million)
- Euro 1650 (company turnover more than Euro 10 million)
Awarded companies 
Each year many companies from around the world subscribe to the Superior Taste Award. Examples of companies awarded in the last few years are AB InBev (Leffe beer); Alpro Soya (soy products); Asia Pacific Breweries (beer); Carlsberg (beer); Coca-Cola Germany (Apollinaris); Del Monte Foods (pineapple); Granini (fruit juice); Haacht Brouwerij(beer); Heineken (beer); Kagome CO., Ltd (vegetables juices); Kirin Beverage CO., Ltd (beverages); Mevgal (dairy products); Nestlé Waters (S.Pellegrino); San Benedetto (mineral water) United Spirits (spirits) etc.
The foods and drinks are tested by a jury of professional European chefs and sommeliers. iTQi works with the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) and with chefs from the following European organisations:
- Académie Culinaire de France
- Academy of Culinary Arts (UK)
- Årets Kock of Sweden
- Associação de Cozinheiros Profissionais de Portugal
- Federación de Asociaciones de Cocineros de España
- Federazione Italiana Cuochi
- Hellenic Chef’s Association
- Meesterkoks van België
- Maîtres Cuisiniers de France
- Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe
- Verband der Köche Deutschlands
- The World Master Chefs Society
Producers have until the beginning of March to enter their products online via iTQi website. During March, iTQi jury members meet in Brussels. Foods are tested by a jury of chefs and drinks by sommeliers and beverage experts.
Products are blind tested solely on their own merit (not compared), with the focus on the intensity of gustatory pleasures and the sensory analysis methodology. Organoleptic criteria are scored (first impression, appearance, smell, texture, taste and aftertaste/retro-olfaction and commented on by each judge. Each product is classified in one of 340 categories and prepared as instructed by the producer.
Each judge gives a score for each criterion as well as a comment justifying the grade. All the scores by the jury are compiled with taste and first impression having a higher weight. The final results are communicated confidentially to the participating manufacturers with a report accompanying the analysis, comments and further suggestions about their products.
All products with a minimum score of 70% are awarded in the following way:
- One Golden Star with a score between 70% and 80%: Products are awarded for “Notable Taste“
- Two Golden Stars with a score between 80% and 90%: products are awarded as “Remarkable“
- Three Golden Stars with a score of 90% and above: products are awarded as “Exceptional“
In 2009, a total of 796 products were tested; 161 received one star, 295 two stars, and 69 three stars. 66% of submitted products were given an award.
In 2012, a total of 997 products were tested; 124 received one star, 428 two stars, and 200 three stars. 75% of submitted products were given an award.
Award ceremony 
After the announcement of the winners in early spring, the presentation of the awards takes place in Brussels in May. This event is attended by the winning producers, officials and the press.
- "Entry fee". Superior Taste Award. ITQI. 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- "SAB wins big, greens Boks". Media Club South Africa. 24 June 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- "Awarded Products 2012". ITQI. Retrieved 19 December 2012.