The Puerto Rican company Amasar, dedicated to the creation of several products made with bread as its main ingredient, was recognized on Sunday with a Sofi Award, in the category of best breakfast product with its bread flour for pancakes and waffles. .
“This is considered the Oscar of gourmet food in international cuisine. It is important to understand the value of the award to give it the importance it deserves. Puerto Rico had never won this award”, she expressed excitedly. Marisol Villalobos Rivera, who together with her husband Jesús Martes Cordero, founded Amasar in 2016.
El Sofi Award It is a recognition that the Specialty Food Association has been carrying out for 50 years. The winners of this award are selected through a blind tasting process and what is sought is that the winners are innovative products in their categories.
As described on the Specialty Food Association website: “The Sofi Award brings exposure to food buyers from top names in supermarkets, specialty retailers, foodservice, distributors, as well as the press. Winning a Sofi award is not just another trophy for your shelf, it is a gateway to invaluable business opportunities and global recognition.”
This is the first time in half a century of contest that a Puerto Rican product appears in the list of winnerswhich for Villalobos Rivera represents not only an achievement for his company, but also a great pride for the island.
“I applied thanks to Anthony Cardona, a public servant from the Department of Economic Development, who wrote us an email telling us that we had the opportunity to participate. Having a business requires a lot of time and imposes many tasks and responsibilities on you, but that email worked for me and outside of daily work hours I completed the application. It was something that took several days. It was not easy because they asked for a lot of information, but I did it and we sent the 15 samples to the United States to complete the process.”, recalls Villalobos Rivera.
To participate, samples are sent to the Rutgers University Food Innovation Center in Bridgeton, New Jersey. There they are in charge of bringing together a jury that includes renowned chefs, culinary instructors, recipe developers, gastronomic journalists and specialty food buyers.
“This expert jury evaluates taste, texture, smell, nutritional value, quality of ingredients and innovation. The first thing the judges do is taste, they go to the second stage to evaluate the nutritional table, then they know the ingredients and finally they see the packaging. It is a blind test that has no other influence except the taste and what they learn about the product as the evaluation progresses,” explains Villalobos Rivera, an industrial microbiologist.
Last weekend Villalobos Rivera and Martes Cordero traveled to New York to receive the award and also to participate in an exhibition of the winning products. Along with the exhibitor from Puerto Rico, foods from various parts of the world were presented.
“This is not a monetary award, but rather a marketing and exposure award. I have faith that thanks to this event we will find at least one opportunity to export to the American nation… We are winning in a super competitive category and what is happening is an example of everything that Puerto Ricans can achieve,” adds Villalobos. Rivera.
Amasar was founded in 2016, although it launched its first product in 2018.
Currently, the Puerto Rican company thas four products on the market based on corduroy: the multipurpose flour, the pancake mix, and two breakfast creams, which are available in the main supermarkets and through amasar.net.
The farm located in Jayuya is planted in an agroforestry way, operates with renewable energy, collects rainwater for irrigation and has contour ditches to prevent soil erosion.