Southwest Ohio is rich with signature food products developed locally, and some are enjoyed by consumers on a regional and national basis. The Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) sponsored the Southwest Ohio Food Product Development Contest which showcases many new local products ready to take that next step – actual product development.
CIFT president and CEO David Beck, announced two winners selected in recognition of their product concepts:
• Cincinnati Schnecken by Armin and Melanie Hack of Frieda’s Desserts (Cincinnati, Ohio) – Schnecken is a prized dessert treat and a long-standing Cincinnati food tradition. This Schnecken is best described as a buttery, chewy loaf of warm, sweet dough that bakes in its own caramel and melts in your mouth. (Photo: Melanie and Armin Hack.)
• House Sweet Tomato Vinaigrette by Chef Jennifer Purkey of the General Denver Hotel (Wilmington, Ohio) – This tangy, yet sweet dressing is made from the finest Ohio-based ingredients. The vinaigrette can be used to upgrade any salad or sandwich, and is also enjoyed as a marinade. (Photo below: Jim Konecny of CIFT presents award to Purkey.)
Following a review of written applications and presentations by food entrepreneurs and chefs to a panel of judges, the highest scoring concepts were selected based on the viability of the product, commercialization potential, business strategy, and overall appeal to the marketplace.
As a result of the award, direct consultation and technical assistance from CIFT will be provided to the start up businesses ranging from business planning, product/process development, shelf stability testing, labeling review, regulatory assistance, and batch product preparations for sampling. Later, production space is available at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK), a nonprofit commercial facility that educates and advises new and growing businesses, or alternative locations may be identified. Currently more than 30 businesses make their products at the NOCK.