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New York MilkLaunch Contest Seeks Dairy Innovators
New York Ag Connection - 05/12/2022

The New York MilkLaunch startup competition is looking for entrepreneurs, startups or existing companies to launch innovative dairy products.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York Dairy Promotion Order (DPO) Advisory Board and VentureFuel announced the program, with a focus on dairy product innovation and sustainability, is specifically searching this year for products that appeal to Generation Z consumers (10-23 years old).

Independent innovation consultants at VentureFuel will run MilkLaunch, which is encouraging entrants to introduce exciting products in cheese, yogurt, liquid milk, ice cream, butter categories.

"During our first NY MilkLaunch program we saw so many innovative products that spoke directly to younger consumers in a contemporary way that really enhanced the excitement around dairy," said Fred Schonenberg, founder of VentureFuel. "We also saw many novel ideas focused on sustainability and know that Gen-Z and the New York state dairy community are both deeply passionate about sustainability, resulting in the perfect combination for this year's focus."

The program was designed to identify early-stage dairy products, ranging from ideas to existing new products. To be eligible for MilkLaunch, the products have to contain at least 50% fluid dairy milk and have sales of less than $250,000. The winners also must commit to using milk sourced from New York dairy producers for at least one year. Dairy farms, processors, producers, entrepreneurs, academics and ideators all are eligible to enter the competition.

"We are thrilled to work with VentureFuel on the MilkLaunch program this year," said Larry Bailey, chair of the DPO Advisory Board. "We as New York dairy farmers and the DPO are excited by the program's focus on sustainability and Generation Z to help promote and sell more dairy products to this impactful group of consumers who strive for a better future."

Slate Milk won the previous competition. Co-founder Manny Lubin said MilkLaunch "was a great opportunity" for the company to connect with industry experts.

"It allowed us to learn and get direct feedback from people who have been here before," Lubin said. "We're also still in touch with many of the mentors that were a part of the program. They've been super helpful along the way."

The DPO Advisory Board, which advises New York's State Department of Agriculture on the allocation of milk producer funds, supports MIlkLaunch as part of its 2022 goals to promote and increase the consumption of New York milk and dairy products.

Official rules for the competition and application documents are available from VentureFuel online at nymilklaunch.com. The deadline for applications is June 15.


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