2010 R&D Teams of the Year

A tip of the hairnet to Hormel Foods, Reser's Fine Foods and Annie Chun's.

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"Effective teamwork is all about making a good, well-balanced salad -- not whipping individuals into a single batch of V8." So says Sandra Richardson, organizational and business consultant with Strategy Focused Business Solutions Inc., Ontario.

While she doesn't specialize in the food & beverage industry, Richardson obviously is on to something.

In February and March, we asked you to nominate the food & beverage industry's best R&D teams based on their innovative product development and successful strategies, particularly in these tough economic times. There were dozens of nominees, but we had to whittle down the list to two companies in each of the three size categories.

The finalists were Hormel Foods and Unilever USA in the large-company category (annual sales of $750 million or more), Reser's Fine Foods and Ruiz Foods in the medium category (sales of $100-750 million) and Annie Chun's and Attune Foods in the small company category (sales of less than $100 million).

We asked you to return to our web site in April and May for the final vote. You answered the call, and responses exceeded our expectations! Altogther, 1,349 votes were cast. Most of the races were close. The winners are profiled on the following pages.

Large Company - Hormel Foods

Medium Company - Reser's Fine Foods

Small Company - Annie Chun's

Winners chosen by you had many things in common, including successful cross- functional teams, a passion to excel, understanding of consumer needs, excellent leadership and a corporate philosophy of encouraging individual innovation within the team.

There is nothing more complimentary than recognition by your peers and competitors. Congratulations to the winning R&D teams, and we thank them for sharing their successful strategies with our readers. We also thank you, who nominated and voted for them.

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