A new competition for producers of value-added dairy products is now open for applications. The Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition supports food innovators in launching products made from dairy ingredients produced in the Northeast and gives dairy entrepreneurs, including those making products on organic and small farms, access to entrepreneurial and technical support.
With a total of $365,000 in awards, both finalists and winners will receive funding and technical support to bring their value-added products to market. This initiative fast tracks innovative products reaching the market while increasing the utilization of milk produced in the Northeast.
The competition is produced by Cornell's Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA) in partnership with the Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center (NDFRC). Supported by a $1 million grant from the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC), the competition gives participants early-stage incubation assistance from Cornell's leading business- and food-processing faculty, access to Cornell's Food Processing and Development Laboratory, industry mentorship, and training on product prototyping and optimization, food safety and compliance, and business planning.
Along with this access to Cornell's facilities and faculty, finalists will receive $20,000, and winners will receive an additional $55,000 and given a presence at the Dairy Innovation Showcase at the 2023 Grow-NY Summit in Upstate New York.
"This competition provides an onramp to entrepreneurship for people passionate about meeting customer needs with high-quality dairy products. Thanks to the support from the NE-DBIC, we are providing the resources needed to grow and scale their dairy product businesses," said CREA's Director of Food and Ag Startup Programs Jenn Smith.
Dr. Samuel Alcaine, director of the NDFRC and associate professor at Cornell CALS, said, "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."
Laura Ginsburg, director of the NE-DBIC, noted, "The high-quality milk our Northeast Dairy farmers produce is an excellent ingredient for many value-added products. This competition, along with our specialized grants for dairy processors, creates more pathways for regional dairy processing that benefits farmers, consumers, and our regional economy."
The competition is open to all food innovators, including small and organic farms, nonprofits, and dairy co-ops located in the United States that use or commit to using milk and/or dairy ingredients produced at dairies in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont in their production.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock Art.