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Five Ohio startups to compete for the next level

The 11th Annual Ohio Signature Food Contest is taking a new spin this year and being held virtually. The event will be hosted by BCAN / Buckeye Broadband reporter, Tim McMahon, and will be aired on Sunday, August 2, 2020 at 7 p.m. on BCAN / Buckeye Broadband.

Sponsored by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), the contest will showcase new, innovative products from across the state.

“The demand for locally grown and produced foods is growing every year and we’re fortunate to have a platform to highlight our local entrepreneurs,” said Rebecca A. Singer, President and CEO, CIFT. “Our contestants this year bring a new level of innovation and creativity with their products and we’re excited to find the next signature food item for Ohio.”

June completed the application deadline and five top-notch startups have made it through to compete this year. The five finalists’ will send their product samples to our seven Ohio judges, whose backgrounds range from finance, government, food science, professional chef to successful food entrepreneurs. The judges will taste test the products, interview each finalist and score each product. The products will be scored on a variety of different categories such as the viability of the product, commercialization potential, business strategy, and overall appeal to the marketplace.

The five finalists’ products range from a spice rub to cream puffs and everything in between. The finalists will be competing to kick-start their food product through technical assistance from CIFT. Two finalists will win and will receive expert guidance on how to advance their product to the marketplace, as well as production of product to be used for consumer feedback. Production will be available at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK) in Bowling Green, a nonprofit commercial facility that educates and advises new and growing businesses, provides access to a commercially-licensed kitchen, networking opportunities with other similar entities, and technical assistance.

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