A regional competition organized and funded by the USDA’s Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Center is now taking applications.

The competition will focus on those startups and entrepreneurs that have a dairy-based or milk-based product idea that is still in the early stages, and therefore most in need of funding.

In April, ten competitors will be selected from the applicant pool to be given $20,000 to help fund their endeavor. In addition to funding will be a slew of services designed to channel the startup’s energy into something viable. They include training in food safety, help in forming a business plan, and product development.

The innovators will have from May to July to develop, produce, and reveal their product. In that time, they will also be given the treat of visiting the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Food Processing and Development Lab, where they will benefit from the world-renowned staff and faculty.  They are also invited to use the school’s Food Processing and Development Lab to help in product development.

By August, the ten competitors will be whittled down to three.  Those three will then be given an extra $55,000 for product finalization. They subsequently will be invited to compete in the bigger Dairy Innovation Showcase, part of the 2023 Grow-NY Summit in Upstate New York.

“The Northeast’s tradition of producing exceptional quality milk and dairy products has a strong regional and national reputation, and as local and artisanal products are mainstreamed and requested by consumers, the market potential for Northeastern dairy grows. Both at-home and institutional consumers are craving new versions of dairy products and as a result, dairy entrepreneurs, including organic and small farms, need business and technical support to pursue value-added enterprises.”, reads a statement from the center’s website.

For voting criteria information and applications, click here.

Here at NJ Food Supply, we appreciate the small, but reputable dairy industry in New Jersey. We hope our great state is represented honorably. Good luck!