TRACY, CALIF. -- The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) is in the midst of announcing the 12 semi-finalists in the Real California Milk EXCELerator event, a dairy-product innovation competition that awards over $650,000 in prize money. Four of the 12 winners include Boba Guys, GoodSport Nutrition, Kefir Lab and Nightfood. 

The competition, which is run and managed by VentureFuel, focuses on innovation in the thriving functional foods market, which has seen significant growth over the past year and is projected to reach over $275 billion globally by 2025.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a surge in consumers purchasing products that are aimed at prioritizing personal health and wellness. This competition looks for high-growth companies that are in the early stages of creating a personal performance product that contains milk-based ingredients with the goal of improving focus, energy and strength.  

  • Boba Guys, which has 15 locations spread across California, is in the midst of developing a bottled milk tea latte that contains nutrients, vitamins and caffeine to optimize performance and recovery. 
  • GoodSport Nutrition is developing an all-natural sports drink containing real milk that delivers hydration with three times the electrolytes and less sugar than the average sports drink. 
  • Kefir Lab uses kefir and makes it more effective with organic milk cultured with 24 live and active potent protein strains for a bottled kefir that boosts immunity, metabolism, and brain health.
  • Nightfood is an ice cream that helps quench nighttime cravings while also delivering sleep-friendly ingredients to promote quality sleep. 

The remaining eight semi-finalists are set to be announced on July 29 at 9:00 a.m. EST.