“This is the first year and first time a program like this has been created, so we were pleased with the interest from entrants along with overall attention it has received from the industry,” Andy Lefkowitz, CEO of Ganeden, told FoodNavigator-USA. The program was first announced in February this year.
More than 20 applicants jumped on the opportunity, and Ganeden was faced with the difficult task of narrowing it down to three. “We felt that each of the finalists’ submissions represented novel products that will resonate with consumers and fill a specific need in the marketplace,” he added. “It was a very difficult choice as many entrants met this goal, but each finalist has a very unique food with a great story, and we’re looking forward to learning more about them in the final presentations.”
Here is a brief snapshot of the companies that will be pitching their products to a panel of judges at the Institute of Food Technologists 2016 Show in Chicago next month, with descriptions courtesy of Ganeden:
- AVOKE Spoonables: a line of vegan, avocado-based smoothie bowls. Each Spoonable comes packaged and ready-to-eat in an avocado-shaped stackable cup containing two servings of fruits and vegetables, 1 billion CFUs of probiotics and a toasted quinoa topping. The concept, entered by Daniel Karsevar, would be the first avocado, probiotic smoothie and serves as a tasty and healthy alternative to yogurt or plant-based beverages.
- Red Lotus Foods: a Cleveland-based company offering a creamy spread made from cultured cashews with roasted garlic and herbs from entrant, Jeanne Petrus-Rivera. The artisan spreads and toppings are dairy-free and make a unique variation to traditional spreads. Consumers now have the option to give up dairy products without giving up the taste they love.
- simplyFUEL: non-GMO, protein energy balls made from scratch by Mitzi Dulan, a registered dietitian and the team sports nutritionist for the World Champion Kansas City Royals. The balls are packed with delicious ingredients and are a fun snack option that satisfies outside of protein bars. They have been taste-tested and approved by several high-profile professional athletes, active adults as well as young athletes and children.
The judges are Caroline Beckman, co-founder and CEO at Nomva; John Grubb, managing partner of Sterling-Rice Group; Jennifer Love, CEO of Entrepreneurist and One More Woman; and Laszlo Tikk, senior innovation manager at The Kroger Co.
According to a press release from Ganeden, the winner announcement will take place at 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, July 17 at Ganeden’s Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) expo booth (#2148).