The finalists for California Milk Advisory Board’s (CMAB) Snackcelerator competition have been announced! The event, designed to fuel product innovation in California’s dairy industry, inspires ideas that meet growing consumer demand, all while providing suppliers with the resources to bring these products to market.
“This field of finalists represent the innovation we’re seeing in better-for-you snacking today—highly flavorful, portable options with added benefits. 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 19,” said John Talbot, CEO of the CMAB. “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.”
According to a press release, the finalists include:
These four innovators rose to the top, beating out their 16 other sweet and savory semi-finalists. The two-day virtual pitch was judged by a group of snacking experts from companies such as Conagra, Unilever, Mondelēz, and more. A virtual fan vote was also factored into the final decision.
Peekaboo, Yummy Industries, Petit Pot, and Sāch Foods will move on to the final, live event November 19 hosted by OS Studios where they will compete for $200,000 in support to bring their visions to market with a runner up receiving $100,000 toward the same goal.
The sixteen 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.
“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 co-sponsor of the event. “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. We help some of the largest companies in the world partner with startups and new technologies to drive growth and competitive advantage. While our primary focus with the Snackcelerator was to find the best dairy snack product innovations, once that was accomplished it made tremendous sense to leverage these other tech startups we are excited about to help everyone communicate better and deliver the best virtual experience possible.”
“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,” said Jessica Weiss Levison, Peekaboo Founder and CEO. “And…they loved the flavors. As one of the judges noted, ‘Taste is King!’ and we agree!”
Yummy Industries Co-Founder, Stefan Choy agreed, noting that, “We are confident in our product but being recognized by leading experts in the field further confirms that we are on the right track,” he said. “While we look forward to the final competition, 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.”
"Petit Pot is so grateful for the RCM Snackcelerator,” said Founder Maxime Pouvrea. “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."
“This is an incredible initiative by CMAB, it gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to take their innovative products/companies to another level,” said Tarush Agarwal, Co-Founder of Sāch Foods. “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.”
Congratulations to the four finalists!