California Milk Advisory Board Recognizes Innovation Prowess in Dairy Startups
Each of the four cohort winners will receive a substantial boost, garnering $30,000 in resources and funding to propel their products to new heights in the California market. Furthermore, these victors will contend for an additional $100,000 in support based on sustained performance over the ensuing year.
The 2023 Real California Milk Excelerator, now in its fifth year, continues to champion open innovation, attracting early-stage applicants with a 50% cow’s milk-based product or prototype. The live pitch event on November 16 featured eight finalists presenting before a panel of judges representing retail, consumer packaged goods, food distribution, and media. Notably, 2022 cohort members dosa by DOSA and Wheyward Spirit secured additional funding, underlining their success in the California market.
The event also introduced a novel "Future of Dairy Expo," providing attendees with a firsthand experience of products from 15 of the industry's most innovative startups. A panel discussion delved into insights on the impact of dairy innovations on retail sales and consumer behavior.
Reflecting on their victories, founders expressed gratitude for the opportunities afforded by the CMAB and VentureFuel partnership. Donald Anit of Amazing Ice Cream highlighted the inspiration gained from witnessing the entire California milk processing journey. Andrew Arbos, CEO of Arbo’s Cheese Dip, emphasized the symbiotic relationship between innovative brands and California dairy farmers, stressing the importance of sustainability.
Maxime Pouvreau, founder of Petit Pot, acknowledged the perfect timing of the prize as they gear up to introduce new paper cup desserts at Publix and Target. Rob Diepersloot, founder of WonderCow, underscored the valuable connections made with like-minded entrepreneurs, mentors, and industry leaders through the CMAB cohort.
John Talbot, CEO of the CMAB, commended the winners for presenting solid products and compelling selling stories that resonate with consumers. He emphasized the ongoing commitment of California dairy families to innovation and their investment in opportunities like the Excelerator competition.
Fred Schonenberg, CEO of VentureFuel, celebrated the diversity among this year's winners, ranging from pastry chefs to veterans. He expressed eagerness to support their continued growth as they contribute to the excitement and demand for Real California Dairy.
The Excelerator, having worked with over 45 startups across various categories in the past four years, stands as a testament to California's leadership in dairy innovation. With a focus on sustainability and quality, the state's more than 1,100 family dairy farms continue to propel the nation's dairy industry forward. The program's alumni have successfully transitioned from concept to distribution, with products now available in major retailers nationwide. For more details on the 2023 cohort, mentors, and the final pitch event, visit the RCM Excelerator site.