Bears Nutrition takes home $250K at Real California Milk’s first accelerator

By Beth Newhart contact

- Last updated on GMT

The winners (Bears Nutrition) committed to producing their products in California to make an economic impact on the local dairy farmers and processors.
The winners (Bears Nutrition) committed to producing their products in California to make an economic impact on the local dairy farmers and processors.

Related tags: Milk, California, accelerator, incubator, start-up, kids nutrition

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) sponsored Real California Milk’s inaugural accelerator competition, which wrapped up last week with more than $450,000 worth of prizes.

The program emphasized California products from the start, accepting applications through the end of this summer. On November 8, Bears Nutrition’s milk-based nutrition shakes for kids took home the top prize of $250,000.

The CMAB set out looking for “high-growth potential liquid milk applicants, with cow’s milk making up at least 50% of their formula.”​ The applicants also had to commit to producing their products in California if they won the competition in order to make an economic impact on the local dairy farmers and processors.

Official rules stated that up to eight applicants would receive $25,000 worth of support each, to assist with development. They would also be mentored by marketing, packaging and distribution experts.

Entries also had to be a liquid dairy product, at least half made of cow's milk, all made from 100% California milk agree to the final product carrying the Real California Milk seal.

The competition ended with nine finalists who participated in a trip to tour CMAB dairy farms and processing facilities and connect with manufacturers, producers and investors. They were ultimately judged on taste, nutritional value, packaging innovation, sustainability and the ability to scale.

John Talbot, CEO of the CMAB, said, "The innovation we've seen from these nine incredible finalists has shown that we've barely tapped the natural goodness of dairy milk and what can be done to create products relevant to consumers today.”

"Not only are we excited to provide consumers with a healthy, great-tasting new beverage option by helping to bring Bears Nutrition shakes to market, but we also look forward to seeing what the other finalists are able to achieve with the support they've received through this program."

Bears Nutrition was co-founded by David Sheu and Kevin Yeung, and their winning product is a milk-based beverage that contains protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega 3s, designed for children older than three.

The bottled drinks will contain 170 calories, 7g of fat, 260mg of sodium, 250mg of calcium, 15g of carbs, 15g of sugar and 10g of protein. The milk is sourced from the ‘super cows’ of the Swiss Alps.

“Proper nutrition is an everyday mission. Our first try was a hit with our picky eaters, and they loved it,”​ Bear Nutrition said, recommending that kids drink the product twice a day. They have plans for more flavors soon.

The prize money was provided in collaboration with innovation consultancy VentureFuel, Inc., and CEO and founder Fred Schoenberg said it’s “a great demonstration of the heights that are possible when influential organizations in major industries collaborate with startups; we can accelerate growth and jump-start innovation in new ways that can not only influence consumer perception, but help redefine an industry.”

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