NYS MilkLaunch, a new startup competition focused on accelerating product innovation for dairy products in New York state, announced the four finalists for its inaugural competition. They are:

  • Slate: a low-sugar, higher-protein line of lactose-free milks for everyone — not just children. The brand will be developing two new innovative flavors during the competition.
  • Karviva: Gold Sage: Inspired by ancient wisdom and backed by modern science, these wellness drinks infuse functional ingredients such as turmeric and other minerals into New York milk to deliver a full range of health benefits.
  • Superfrau: an Alpine-inspired electrolyte elixir made by upcycling surplus whey and infusing it with unique flavors such as cucumber lime, lemon elderflower and peach mango; a hydrating, protein and nutrient-packed recovery drink that promotes sustainability in the dairy industry.
  • Pursue Happiness Cold Brew Cowffee: an innovative dairy-based, shelf-stable coffee drink that is high in protein, low in sugar and features added CLA Plus for increased health benefits.

MilkLaunch is run by New York-based corporate innovation consultancy VentureFuel in collaboration with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York Dairy Promotion Order (DPO) Advisory Board. The open competition included global applicants with products ranging from the idea stage to already existing. They entrants’ products have sales under $250,000 and contain at least 50% fluid milk; entrants make a commitment that if they win, their milk will be sourced from New York producers for at least 12 months, the competition’s organizers said.

The four finalists each will receive $15,000 worth of support for their new product and be enrolled in a customized mentorship program.

“Our program includes mentorship from the president of Chobani to the top food scientists in the country to experts in packaging, marketing, retail and innovation,” said Fred Schonenberg, founder of VentureFuel. “We want to help these upstarts go from ideation to commercialization and become the type of success that delivers more demand for New York dairy.”

The finalists will pitch a panel of expert judges on Dec. 8, 2020, for the right to be named the winner of the NYS MilkLaunch and be awarded $150,000 worth of support to accelerate the new product in market.

“The MilkLaunch competition has brought about some real excitement for the future of the New York state dairy industry,” New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said. “We look forward to the next phase of the competition, which will assist the finalists with important guidance and mentorship to start up their businesses, and to hearing more about these innovative product ideas.”