The New York Dairy Promotion Order Advisory Board sparks new product innovation for dairy through startups and emerging businesses

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York Dairy Promotion Order Advisory Board and VentureFuel announced Aug. 20, 2020, a new startup competition, MilkLaunch, focused on accelerating product innovation for dairy products in New York state.

The competition will be run by VentureFuel, the leading innovation consultancy that builds accelerators and custom programs to futurize industries and corporations.

MilkLaunch will encourage entrepreneurs to introduce exciting new dairy products for consumers to enjoy with the ultimate goal of boosting dairy sales in New York state. The competition includes more than $200,000 in awards, including providing $15,000 to support four finalists in perfecting their product via lab time, customer insights, research and elite mentorship from global experts across the consumer products, retail and dairy industries.

The grand prize of $150,000 will be used to accelerate the winner(s) of the competition to get to market and drive dairy sales.

The dairy industry is the largest single segment of New York’s agricultural industry. The state has nearly 4,000 dairy farms that produce nearly 15 billion pounds of milk, is the fourth largest producer of milk, the largest producer of cottage cheese and sour cream and the second-largest producer of yogurt.

The DPO Advisory Board, a 10-member board that advises the state Department of Agriculture on the allocation of milk producer funds, supported this project as part of its 2020 goals to promote and increase the consumption of New York milk and dairy products.

Finalists will have the opportunity to collaborate with top food scientists from Cornell University’s Food Processing Development Laboratory and Sensory Evaluation Program to improve their product’s safety, quality, labeling and product marketing practices; during the process, finalists can access the expertise the Cornell team has gained from tens of millions of dollars of NY Dairy Promotion Advisory Board-funded dairy research through the Milk Quality Improvement Program and Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center.

The competition is for early-stage applicants ranging from idea stage to existing new products. Products must contain at least 50 percent fluid milk, have sales of less than $250,000, and the winners must commit that all milk will be sourced from New York producers for at least 12 months.

Entries are open to all, including dairy farms, processors, producers, entrepreneurs, academics and ideators. Additionally, VentureFuel, Inc., will tap into its worldwide network of more than 500 venture capitalists, seed investors, founders and university labs to help discover applicants.

Competition rules and application documents are available at and the deadline for application is Sept. 15, 2020.

By martha

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