US dairy businesses bag $20,000 each in food innovation competition

By Teodora Lyubomirova

- Last updated on GMT

lu•lu's hazelnut-flavored goat's milk gelato. Image: lu•lu ice cream
lu•lu's hazelnut-flavored goat's milk gelato. Image: lu•lu ice cream

Related tags Ice cream Yogurt Cheese Dairy creamer

Cornell University's Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA) and the Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center (NDFRC) have announced the 10 finalists for the first-ever Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition.

The initiative supports food innovators in launching products made from dairy ingredients produced in the Northeast.

The competition is an initiative that supports up-and-coming food businesses in launching products made from dairy ingredients produced in the Northeast. Funded by a $1m grant from the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center, the competition provides finalists early-stage incubation assistance from Cornell's food processing and business experts, access to the university's food processing facilities, industry mentorship, and training on product prototyping.

Along with these resources, the finalists will receive $20,000, while up to three winners will receive an additional $55,000 and a presence at the Dairy Innovation Showcase at the 2023 Grow-NY Summit in November.

Over 50 food businesses, including those making products on organic and small farms, applied to the competition. A group of dairy experts representing producers, industry, and research selected the 10 finalists based on product concept, innovation or improvement, viability, prominence of dairy ingredients, and consumer value.

The 10 finalists are:

  • Bell & Goose Cheese Co., New Hampshire for its marinated feta cheese
  • lu•lu ice cream, Vermont for its goat's milk gelato (pictured)
  • Maia Yogurt, Connecticut for its grass-fed dairy yogurt for kids
  • Maple Valley Farm, Vermont for its saffron maple yogurt
  • North Country Creamery, New York for semi-hard, pasteurized cheese
  • Oakfield Corners Cheese LLC, New York for its Mexican-style cheese
  • Spekld, Connecticut, and its pre-made brown butter product
  • Terra Firma Farm, Connecticut and its ready-to-use, premium ice cream base
  • Naturally Golden Family Farms Co-op, Pennsylvania and their all natural, dairy-based coffee creamer
  • Very Good Yogurt, New York for its sugar-free, savory yogurt

The competition concludes on August 8, 2023, at Cornell University's Stocking Hall in Ithaca, New York, where finalists will pitch their products to a group of judges. The finalists will be evaluated on product concept and execution; product innovation and improvement; viability of commercialization and business model; use of dairy ingredients, and consumer value.

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