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Contest seeks Ohio’s future food products

Zoe Greszler • May 3, 2019 at 11:00 AM

With an emphasis on new and innovative food products, Ohioans have the opportunity to land their product on store shelves with the Ohio Signature Food Contest, running now through May 31.

Sponsored by the Center for Innovative Food Technology and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), the contest helps facilitate economic growth and job creation in the Ohio food/agriculture industry — the number one industry in the state that already contributes more than $107 billion to the economy.

Contestants complete a simple online form outlining the basic details of their product, and food industry experts will judge based on viability of the product, commercialization potential, business strategy, marketability and overall appeal to the marketplace. Finalists will be invited to present their business concept and product to a panel of judges. The winner will be announced during a special ceremony in late July at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.

Following the announcement, the winner will receive:

• Technical and business development assistance to help advance a product to the marketplace

• Production of product to be used for consumer feedback

• Nutritional analysis

• Shelf life/stability testing

• Review of trademark and copyright components

• Coordination with Ohio Department of Agriculture for label approval

• Label design, packaging, and ingredient source consultation

• Attendance to training seminars for free

In addition to other benefits, production will be available at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen in Bowling Green a nonprofit commercial facility that educates and advises new and growing businesses, provides access to a commercially-licensed kitchen, networking opportunities with other similar entities, and technical assistance. Due to the collaboration with OFBF, increased awareness of this opportunity will be shared with their network. Consideration of membership is encouraged based on the mutual interest in the advancement of local food products.

Products do not need to be fully designed or ready for market, rather an ability to communicate a specific vision. The entry form along with rules/regulations is available at ciftinnovation.org. Deadline to submit the completed application is Friday, May 31.

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