Real California Milk Snackcelerator expands with more prize money

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

The 16 semi-finalist applicants for the 2020 RCM Snackcelerator have been broken down into savory and sweet categories. Pic: Getty Images/baibaz
The 16 semi-finalist applicants for the 2020 RCM Snackcelerator have been broken down into savory and sweet categories. Pic: Getty Images/baibaz

Related tags Dairy Milk

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) has announced it has doubled the number of semi-finalists and added more than $350,000 in additional awards to the Real California Milk Snackcelerator, its dairy product innovation competition.

The CMAB said it was inspired by the number of quality ideas and products that integrate the flavor and functionality of California dairy into both sweet and savory snack formulations, and so the VentureFuel-run competition has expanded to include 16 companies competing for more than $800,000 in awards.

The Real California Milk Snackcelerator is intended to tap into the $605bn global snack food market. The competition aims to inspire innovation and investment in dairy-based snack products, packaging and capacity in California by connecting processors, producers, investors, ideas and entrepreneurs.

VentureFuel, Inc., a corporate innovation consultancy, is partnering with CMAB to run the program and identified and recruited applicants from their global network of investors, founders and academics.

“We saw a 153% increase in qualified applications from our first program with CMAB, which is a testament to the momentum we have been building together as well as the opportunity in marrying snacking innovation with dairy,”​ said Fred Schonenberg, founder of VentureFuel, Inc.

“We saw applications from Ghana to Oakland that included personalized nutrition, functional foods as well as unique flavor-profiles inspired by cultures around the world. Now comes the fun part of helping accelerate these products so that they are ready to pitch at the semi-finals, the finals and ultimately get to market for consumers to enjoy.”

The competition now moves to the Sweet & Savory 16 where semi-finalists will be broken into two groups, “Sweet” for those that cater to the sweet flavors and “Savory” for those palates that look for more salty and cooked flavors.

The 16 semi-finalist applicants for the 2020 RCM Snackcelerator are:


Peekaboo Ice Cream:​ An organic ice cream with the added nutritional benefits of vegetables.

FitPro Heroes’ Cookies​: Lactose-free, shelf-stable protein cookies that deliver ingredients designed to support daily performance needs, including: mental acuity, healthy energy, joint support and inflammation relief, stress and anxiety relief, sleep aid, as well as offering traditional protein recovery benefits from milk proteins.

Moody’s Ice Cream​: Moody’s infuses ice cream with functional ingredients, adaptogens and herbalist blends to naturally boost moods.

Lucha Leche​: Protein-rich yogurt drinks, in Latin-inspired flavors, fortified with pre- and probiotics and no added sugars.

Frutero Ice Cream​: Latin-inspired ice cream made with 100% real tropical fruits and butterfat. Flavors include Mango, Guava, Passion Fruit, Guanabana and Coconut. 

Optimized Foods​: Ice cream novelties that leverage proprietary encapsulation technologies to deliver functionally proven health ingredients (improved muscle performance, cognitive function, intestinal immunity, etc.) with better taste and greater bioavailability.

Petit Pot​: The first brand to bring traditional French desserts to American grocery stores is developing a new chocolate dessert.

KetoBites Cheesecake Bites​: A snackable cheesecake treat high in protein, low in sugar and carbs, packaged in a convenient yogurt-style cup.


Baozza​: An entirely new snack category, combining two of the most consumed foods in Asian and gen pop culture - Bao buns and pizza.

WheyUp Probiotic Kefir Krisps​: Snack chips made from creme Kefir (Labne) with a one-year shelf life while maintaining the active probiotic cultures in a cheese yogurt snack.

Point Reyes Farmstead Whey Cool Kitchen Curd Cup:​ Whey Cool Kitchen Curd Cup is the first clean, mix-in dairy snack with savory flavors, and is high in protein.

Sach Foods Organic Paneer​: The world's first flavored and artisanal paneer. Rooted in Indian cuisine, this is a snackable version of paneer.

Fahris LLC​: Yoghurt Chips – inspired by a historical Mediterranean recipe, these chips are made from California cow’s milk, which first turns into prebiotic- rich yogurt and then is mixed with crushed wheat and thyme. The final product is a snack high in protein and rich in fiber, enzymes, and probiotics.

Saga Ventures Crispy Cheese Bar​: A crispy cheese bar snack utilizing California cheese and other flavors that is low carb and high in protein to provide a boost of sustainable energy. 

Yummy Industries​: Cheese Bits – a line of natural, fresh and wood-smoked scamorza and chechil cheeses, shaped and packaged for snacking.

Enrich Protein​: Hispanic-style dairy snack chip containing enhanced dairy proteins to support greater health, body composition and exercise recovery.

Through the Real California Milk Snackcelerator, the CMAB sought high-growth potential snack product concepts, with cow’s milk dairy as their first ingredient and making up at least 50% of their formula. The startups have committed to producing the product in California, with milk from California dairy farms, should they win the competition.

The 16 startups accepted into the cohort will receive $10,000 worth of support each, to develop an edible prototype, while receiving resources including graphic design, lab or kitchen time and mentorship from global marketing, packaging, and distribution experts. They also will receive additional services and support via industry leaders to help drive their new venture.

Semi-finalists will compete in four virtual events on November 10 and 11 followed by a final virtual public pitch event for the “Final Four” on November 19 from 5 to 6:30pm PT. The first-place winner will receive up to $200,000 worth of additional support and the second-place winner $100,000 worth of additional support to get their new product to market.

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