This is the second event of its kind staged by the California dairy industry designed to inspire ideas integrating fluid milk and dairy ingredients into snacks to meet growing consumer demand and providing resources to help bring them to market.
The finalists are:
Peekaboo Ice Cream: The first and only organic ice cream with the added nutritional benefits of vegetables.
Yummy Industries: Cheese Bits: A line of all-natural, fresh and wood-smoked scamorza and chechil cheeses, shaped and packaged for on-the-go snacking.
Petit Pot: A single-serve chocolate mousse dessert, for family snacking, made with organic, local ingredients from the first brand to bring traditional French desserts to American grocery stores.
Sāch Foods Flavored Paneer: The world's first flavored and artisanal paneer in a snackable form. Rooted in Indian cuisine paneer is a time-tested, nutrient-rich food and a high-protein favorite for millions around the world.
The four innovators were selected from a field of 16 sweet and savory semi-finalist competitors during a two-day virtual pitch event judged by a group of snack experts from Conagra, SnackRiot, Hershey’s, Bristol Farms, General Mills, Unilever, Mondelez, Rosa Brothers, RangeMe, Acreage Holdings, Better Food Ventures and Trail Mix Ventures.
A virtual fan vote, through Perksy, which provides market research for the mobile generation, also was factored into the final decision.
Peekaboo, Yummy Industries, Petit Pot and Sāch Foods will move on to the final, live event November 19 where they will compete for $200,000 in support to bring their visions to market, with a runner up receiving $100,000 towards the same goal. Each founder will be presenting to a field of judges from the CPG, retail, venture capital and food science world representing such companies as Clorox, Mondelez, Whole Foods, CircleUp and more.
“This field of finalists represent the innovation we’re seeing in better-for-you snacking today – highly flavorful, portable options with added benefits,” said John Talbot, CEO of the CMAB.
“And consumers agree. Through the Persky platform, 2,000 consumers were introduced to these products during the semi-finals and voted on which they would be most interested in buying. Those scores were factored into the final judging and will be included on the 19th.
“Any of these four products will make a perfect partner for our real milk and dairy ingredients, which offer incredible functionality plus flavor and a host of naturally occurring nutrients. And, as the leading dairy state, our family dairy farms can provide a consistent, sustainable source of milk to fuel production of whichever product ultimately wins.”
The 16 semi-finalists received $10,000 worth of support each, to develop an edible prototype, while receiving a suite of resources including graphic design, lab or kitchen time and elite mentorship from global marketing, packaging, and distribution experts from companies including Diageo, Nestle, Mondelez, My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream, Bristol Farms, Rosa Brothers, Food Network/Hearst Magazines, Pod Foods, Latitude Ventures, The Marketing Greenhouse, The Creative Pack, Whole Brain Consulting and Power Brands.
The total value of competition prizing is more than $800,000.
“It’s impossible not to be inspired by the creative new thinking that the semi-finalists brought to dairy snacking,” said Fred Schonenberg, CEO and founder of VentureFuel.
“The overall excitement created by the competition with consumers, retailers, investors and dairy farmers has a tremendous halo effect for the industry, not to mention the potential scalability of these fantastic four finalists and what they can do for dairy demand.”
What the final four contestants say
“Being selected as a finalist by industry experts is incredibly validating. As consumers seek both health and indulgence, Peekaboo fills a white space and I am humbled that the judges recognized Peekaboo's potential to disrupt the ice cream category.”
- Jessica Weiss Levison, Peekaboo founder and CEO.
“We are confident in our product but being recognized by leading experts in the field further confirms that we are on the right track. While we look forward to the final co
mpetition, we already consider ourselves and the other finalists to be winners because we have established great relationships in the industry and received a lot of support from mentors, sponsors and organizers, which is invaluable for a startup.”
- Yummy Industries co-founder, Stefan Choy
"Petit Pot is so grateful for the RCM Snackcelerator. The semi-finalist process really helped improve our offering and finalize the formula to take this item closer to commercialization. We couldn't be more excited to move to the finals."
- company founder Maxime Pouvrea
“This is an incredible initiative by CMAB, it gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to take their innovative products/companies to another level. As a California-based artisanal Paneer cheese
company, we’re grateful for the entrepreneurial spirit that prevails with our community. We look forward to the next stage of the competition and showing our creativity to the world.”
- Tarush Agarwal, co-founder of Sāch Foods