Land O’Lakes Inc. said it selected six dairy companies to participate in its 2018 Dairy Accelerator — a program supporting the dairy industry by providing tailored coursework and mentorship to dairy entrepreneurs. To qualify for consideration, each company was required to use dairy as a primary ingredient in its products.

"Our 2018 participating companies span dairy categories, demonstrating the vitality and versatility of dairy. We're excited to support the dairy industry by nurturing these innovators and entrepreneurs in the accelerator program," said Raquel Melo, vice president of innovation and new business development for Arden Hills, Minn.-based Land O'Lakes Inc.

Land O’Lakes said its 2018 Dairy Accelerator participants include:

  • Blue Marble Ice Cream (organic ice creams and sorbets). Founded by two friends in 2007 in New York, Blue Marble Ice Cream makes products with milk from certified organic, pasture-raised cows. Ice cream and sorbet flavors include classics such as vanilla and chocolate, as well as more unique options like Mexican chocolate, pumpkin and green tea.
  • Darling Pickle Dips (cream cheese dips flavored with pickled vegetables, herbs and spices). Born out of a love of snacking by its founders, Darling Pickle Dips offers refrigerated dips made from a cream cheese and white bean base, combined with pickled vegetables, herbs and spices. Flavors include original dill pickle, white cheddar & mustard with dill pickle, and spicy pickle.
  • Norr Skyr (flavored organic skyr). Norr Skyr offers Icelandic-style high-protein strained yogurt (with skyr meaning "thickened milk"). Its products are organic and grass-fed and incorporate unique Scandinavian flavors such as sea buckthorn, gooseberry, elderflower and raspberry rosewater.
  • Numa Foods (milk-based chewy snacks inspired by Taiwanese nougat). Numa's Milk Chews are milk-based chewy snacks infused with nuts and dried fruit that are inspired by Taiwanese nougat, a popular treat in China and Taiwan. Milk powder and butter are core ingredients, achieving the milky flavor profile these treats are known for.
  • SmashPack (protein fruit smoothie pouches and grass-fed pudding pouches). Launched in 2015 by a husband and wife team who aspired to create a healthier version of a protein snack, SmashPack offers protein-packed fruit smoothies and grass-fed pudding in on-the-go squeeze pouches. Flavors include chocolate and chocolate peanut butter protein puddings and mixed berry, tropical fruit and orange peach protein fruit smoothies with MCT oil.
  • Tulip Tree Creamery (hand-crafted, soft-ripened, semi-soft and fresh cheeses and butter). Indianapolis-based Tulip Tree Creamery produces specialty handcrafted cheeses and butter, using traditional European recipes combined with the founders' own twist. All products are made from milk that is sourced from family dairies in Indiana.

Throughout the three-month course, participants will meet with both Land O'Lakes and external business mentors and will attend seminars focused on topics that include finance, brand-building, sales and leadership development, Land O’Lakes said. The program will be held in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.