KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, U.S. — To recognize and celebrate leaders in bakery innovation, the American Society of Baking (ASB) announced recently its Innovation Awards program and invited applications for honors at the 2015 inaugural ceremony.

The contest seeks entries from individuals and companies in the grain-based foods industry that demonstrate innovative development and implementation of leading-edge products, equipment design and advances in ingredient technology. Three categories are offered: health, nutrition and wellness; eco design and sustainability; and operational excellence.

Finalists will be selected by a panel of wholesale bakers and winners announced in December. The honorees will be feted at BakingTech and MarketPlace 2015 to be held March 1-3 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

The awards program was put together by ASB’s MarketPlace Committee, chaired by Walden Hodges, CSM Bakery Products NA, and is managed by Tawnee Brydebell, ASB director of meetings and operations.

“The Innovation Awards have been in the planning for about two years now to be ready for BakingTech’s move to the Hilton Chicago,” Brydebell said. “The MarketPlace Committee wanted to enhance the MarketPlace experience for attendees and exhibitors.”

The awards contest seeks to identify, promote and reward products that offer significant solutions or new opportunities to the grain-based foods industry. It aims to encourage companies involved in the industry along with their partners by publicizing their achievements. In this fashion, the ASB hopes to celebrate, educate and connect innovators across all sectors of the field.

The society encourages suppliers throughout the wholesale baking industry — manufacturers, distributors, and service and ingredient providers — to submit applications, which are due Oct. 10.

A summary of award categories at www.asbe.org/innovationawardsoverview describes the type of innovations that qualify for the awards. It also provides questions to guide the description of innovations and a link to application forms.