Northwest Ohio is rich with signature products developed locally, and some even enjoy being recognized regionally and nationally. The Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) sponsored the 6th Annual Food Product Development Contest which showcases many new local products ready to take that next step – actual product development.
CIFT vice president and director of agricultural programs, Rebecca Singer, announced today the two winners selected in recognition of their product concepts:
• Reverend T’s BBQ Sauce by Anthony Brubaker (Cygnet, Ohio) – With a blend of Kansas City and Memphis-style barbecue sauces, the bold spice blend featured in Reverend T’s BBQ Sauce has a unique taste all of its own. The sauce was inspired through a few special ingredients to give it an uncommon, understated taste.
• LaRoe’s Poppy Seed Dressing by David LaRoe (Grand Rapids, Ohio) – This high quality poppy seed salad dressing made at historic LaRoe’s Restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids, Ohio, has been a long time favorite of guests. Known for its versatility, the dressing can add a nice “kick” to veggie or fresh fruit trays.
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 will begin at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK), a nonprofit commercial facility that educates and advises new and growing businesses, and provides access to a commercially-licensed kitchen. Currently more than 30 businesses make their products at the NOCK.