Northeast Ohio is rich with signature products developed locally, and some even enjoy being recognized regionally and nationally. The Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), assisted by the Cleveland Culinary Launch & Kitchen (CCLK), sponsored the Northeast Ohio Food 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 the two winners selected in recognition of their product concepts:
• Summit Croissants’ Multi-Grain Pancake/Waffle Mix by Sally Ohle (right) of Akron, Ohio – With an assortment of grains and nuts, the pancake/waffle mix provides an easy fix to dietary needs. With no additives, preservatives and your choice of sweetener, each bite provides a healthy taste each morning.
• Valens Kombucha Sparkling Probiotic Drink by Debbie Sablack (left) of Twinsburg, Ohio – This fermented beverage made from tea and sugar is a naturally energizing beverage with a multitude of health benefits. The delicious, refreshing and lighter flavor profile creates a mainstream probiotic drink that is unique in the beverage industry.
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, 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 take place at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK) in Bowling Green, Ohio, or CCLK in Cleveland, Ohio. The NOCK and CCLK are commercially-licensed kitchens that educate and provide technical assistance to new and growing food businesses.