As a lover of all things dairy and a trade news writer, innovation in the category always sparks my excitement as it does with other consumers. That is why the California Milk Advisory Board's (CMAB) recent announcement of the eight finalists in its 4th annual Real California Milk Excelerator, in partnership with VentureFuel, fueled my anticipation for innovative offerings coming down the pipeline.
"We launched the Excelerator to foster a culture of innovation in support of California dairy and this year's contestants certainly delivered on our high expectations. Our 'Open Innovation' finalists' focus on themes important to the next generation of consumers: sustainable sourcing and use of upcycled materials; clean labels and benefits from convenience to function; and global flavors and ingredients," said John Talbot, Chief Executive Officer of the CMAB. "It's exciting to take the next step with each of these candidates in preparation for the final pitch event."
The program focuses on identifying, curating, and accelerating dairy-based products, including traditional consumer food and beverage items, textiles, and more, according to a release. In the end, the competition will award up to $500,000 in prizes for startups that introduce unique benefits while increasing use of California milk and dairy in formulations.
This year's eight finalists are:
"This VentureFuel innovation program for CMAB was designed to uncover the many uses of dairy," said Fred Schonenberg, Founder and CEO of VentureFuel. "Our curation of new startup solutions, especially the finalists, demonstrates the many ways dairy can innovate to connect with the next generation of consumers, showcasing sustainable options, creative packaging, new markets, and direct-to-consumer approaches."
Finalists will participate in a pitch event Wednesday, November 2, in San Carlos, California, where all eight companies will present before a live audience and panel of industry expert judges.
To learn more about the competition, click here.
As innovations continue to pop up across the dairy sector, Deli Market News will keep you in the loop.