Application Deadline

Thursday, May 31, 2019

Stock Photo - Food Contest

The Ohio Signature Food Contest isn't just for dreamers, it's for doers. It's for those that want to take their food product idea and make it store shelf or restaurant ready.

Don't have a business model? No problem. Products do not need to be fully designed or ready for market, rather an ability to communicate a specific vision.  The technical assistance aspect of the award will provide guidance toward a finished product.

Contact Paula Ray at 419-535-6000, ext. 117 or for more information.

2018 Ohio Signature Food Contest Winners
2018 Ohio Signature Food Contest Winners to Enter

  1. One product per application, contestants may fill out multiple applications.
  2. The award winner must demonstrate future interest in commercializing the product.
  3. It must be a viable product as determined by a panel of judges.
  4. The product should be the applicant’s first commercial product for market and contain no alcohol.
  5. No inappropriate content will be accepted on the packaging or labeling.
  6. The judges’ ruling is final.
  7. CIFT will be permitted to promote the winner in various publications and at events, as appropriate.
  8. Applicants must provide samples of the product and discuss market opportunities and business plans.
  9. Applicant must be the person representing the product during the judging phase in order to be considered.
  10. Must be an Ohio company, however if from another state, the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen is available to any interested company no matter location!


Technical and business development assistance to help advance a product to the marketplace

Production of product to be used for consumer feedback.

Nutritional analysis

Shelf life/stability testing

Review of trademark and copyright components

Coordination with Ohio Department of Agriculture for label approval

Provide contact information for label design, packaging, and ingredient sources

Attendance to training seminars for free

Samples of product will be produced under sanitary conditions and following local, state and federal health regulations through the assistance of CIFT

Past Winner: Kyle Baker


"I have to tell you, I have been very fortunate to meet the various people that I have on this journey. I have met some highly successful people and I have met people that have failed. Believe me, the advice from both ends of the spectrum have been valuable. But the best piece of advice I received when I started the process of making this a reality was from Mr. Bill Hirzel of Hirzel Canning Co. and Farms, and the Dei Fratelli brand. He told me, “Make your jars of barbecue sauce one at a time, Kyle. One at a time.” That is the principle we stand on today.

Read more of Kyle Baker's journey with his Ohio Signature Food Contest winning product, Gertie's Premium BBQ Sauce.

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