ITHACA, NY – The Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition – a new event seeking producers of value-added dairy products – announced it is accepting applications.
Produced by Cornell's Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA) in partnership with the Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center (NDFRC), the competition will support food innovators who are launching products made with dairy ingredients produced in the Northeast.
The event’s organizers shared that through the competition, dairy entrepreneurs will gain access to entrepreneurial and technical support. The competition accepts applications from food innovators, including small and organic farms, nonprofits and dairy cooperatives located in the United States. Applicants must use – or commit to use – milk and dairy ingredients produced in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island or Vermont.
As many as 10 participants will be selected in April, and up to three winners will be chosen in August.
Early-stage assistance comes from Cornell business and food processing faculty, as well as Cornell's Food Processing and Development Laboratory. Participants also will gain access to industry mentorship and training on such subjects as product prototypes, optimization, food safety and business planning.
The Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition is supported by a $1 million grant from the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC). A total of $365,000 in awards will go to finalists and winners, who will receive funding and technical support to bring their products to market. Finalists receive $20,000 and winners gain another $55,000, plus a presence at the Dairy Innovation Showcase at the 2023 Grow-NY Summit in November.
CREA director of food and ag startup programs Jenn Smith said with the support of the NE-DBIC, participants will receive the resources they need to grow and scale their businesses.
"This competition provides an onramp to entrepreneurship for people passionate about meeting customer needs with high-quality dairy products,” Smith said.
Added Dr. Samuel Alcaine, director of the NDFRC and associate professor at Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: "This competition responds to a growing demand for innovative dairy products that reflect consumer preference for premium ingredients and positions the Northeast dairy community as a leader in entrepreneurship."
More details about the event can be found online at the Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition website.