‘A golden opportunity for brands’: Real California Milk Excelerator returns for a fifth year

By Teodora Lyubomirova

- Last updated on GMT

The deadline for applications runs to July 7, 2023. Image: CMAB
The deadline for applications runs to July 7, 2023. Image: CMAB

Related tags Competition Dairy California

In the past four years, the competition has engaged with 45 start-ups across numerous industries, from food and beverage to textiles. In 2023, the competition is seeking eight participants to vie for industry support and monetary prizes.

The program, which has provided funding for start-ups such as probiotic company Kefir Lab, low-sugar ice cream firm ReThink, and whey-based alcohol maker Wheyward Spirit, is returning for a fifth year, and applications are now open.

To be eligible, a product maker – whether a business or an individual – must utilize at least 50% of dairy for applications including but not limited to foods, beverages, personal care products, packaging, material sciences, textiles, pet products or anything else that could leverage dairy ‘in an innovative way’. Applicants must also have accumulated less than $1m from domestic lifetime sales and be willing to place the Real California Milk seal on their product.

This year's competition, launched by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) in partnership with start-up accelerator VentureFuel, is seeking a cohort of up to eight product makers.

The cohort will share a $50,000 group stipend prizing for use towards finalizing their products for the Final Pitch event; they will also have access to support such as assistance with commercial video development, sales sheet creation, investor memo creation, consumer research, and mentorship from founders, investors, corporate executives, and experts across design, marketing, sales, manufacturing, distribution and processing.

At the Final Pitch event, to be held in mid-November, the top four companies will be announced as winners; they will receive $30,000 each to launch and expand their operations in California. A year after the finals, CMAB will select one business to receive $100,000 in additional marketing support. This company will be selected based on CMAB’s determination of which company is producing their product in California, are in-market with measurable sales within 12 months since the final event, and can leverage the prizing the most to grow.

The deadline to apply is July 7, 2023 – for more information, visit realcamilkexcelerator.com.

John Talbot, CEO of the CMAB, commented: “The program has grown and evolved over the last five years as we've had the pleasure of bringing some interesting, innovative, and delicious products to the market using milk from our California dairy families. What hasn't changed is our focus on creating the future for dairy product innovation in whatever form that takes. "Real dairy continues to be an attractive tool for product developers, with functional and practical benefits hard to replicate. The business insight, contacts, and tools this program offers, along with the marketing power of the Real California Milk seal, makes this a golden opportunity for brands.”

Related topics R&D

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