Be an Innovator!

Be a Food Innovation Challenger and accelerate your business and product idea! Working with industry professionals, food entrepreneurs will be able to identify what is needed to make their food innovation become a success and create a plan to validate their opportunity.

Mark Your Calendars

Mark Your Calendars!

  • Applications taken: April 11th - May 16th
  • Semifinalists Selection: May 17th - June 3rd
  • Semifinalist Welcome Reception: June 14th
  • Finalists Selection: August 9th
  • Prize Winners Announced and Banquet: August 11th
 

Contest Rules and Requirements

There are very few requirements to get signed up for the Food Innovation Challenge!

Requirement #1

You have a completely new idea or you are an existing business that generated revenue under $1 million annually in 2015.

Requirement #2

Your idea is a baked good, snack-type bar, or condiment (hot-filled jam, dressing, sauce, marinade, etc.), and you aspire to selling it in a retail environment.

Requirement #3

Food entrepreneurs must be 18 and a legal resident of IA, IL, IN, KY, MO, MI, or WI, and may not be employed by ADM and NFS.

You can submit an idea that was created by a team/your startup, but you must have written permission from each team member to submit this entry. Team members will not receive a prize unless they agree to terms and conditions/official rules.

 
Food Innovation Challenge Trophy Logo

Awards and Benefits for Winners

All Semifinalists in the Food Innovation Challenge have the opportunity to work with industry experts to help them refine their ideas and pivot to new options if necessary. The winner – well there's a whole lot more waiting for you to bring your food innovation to life.

1st Place Grand Prize*
  • $50,000 seed funding from ADM
  • $50,000 in services from National Foodworks Services
  • $12,000 in services from Jones & Thomas
  • $10,000 in services from Mérieux NutriSciences
  • $5,000 in services from Aripack Inc.
  • Retail Space and Promotion at local County Market stores, Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy and Colee’s Corner Drugs
2nd Place Prize*
  • $20,000 in services from National Foodworks Services
  • $3,000 in services from Aripack Inc.
  • $2,200 in services from Mérieux NutriSciences
  • Retail Space and Promotion at local County Market stores, Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy and Colee’s Corner Drugs
3rd Place Prize*
  • $10,000 in services from National Foodworks Services
  • $2,000 in services from Aripack Inc.
  • $1,200 in services from Mérieux NutriSciences
  • Retail Space and Promotion at local County Market stores, Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy and Colee’s Corner Drugs
All Semifinalists - Access to Mentors

Winners will have access to ingredients, manufacturing services, and mentorship in the areas of production, accounting, marketing, and more.

All Semifinalists - Expand Your Network

Engage fellow entrepreneurs and experts from industry, academia and the investor community.

* - Prizes subject to change. Values based on retail value provided by the sponsor.

 

Judging Criteria

Our judges will be evaluating your food business idea based on the criteria listed here.

All Applicants
  • 25% Executive Summary & Opportunity
  • 25% Business Model Canvas
  • 25% Product & Package Prototype—1-min Video or up to 5 Photos
  • 25% Progress
Semifinalists
  • 25% Validated Opportunity
  • 25% Refined Business Model Canvas
  • 25% Edible Product & Visual Package Design
  • 25% Measured Progress
Finalists
  • 20% Validated Opportunity
  • 20% Refined Business Model Canvas
  • 20% Edible Product & Visual Package Design
  • 20% Measured Progress
  • 20% Ability to Address Questions

Please note: items change as you move further through the process of bringing your food idea to reality...Good Luck Everyone!

 

Mentor Team

We are assembling a top-notch team of business, academic, and investment experts to support the development of your food innovation. We'll be posting more about them as our list grows right here!