The small business sector in Ohio is vital to many stakeholders. The Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation sponsored the Ohio Signature Food Contest which showcases many new, innovative products ready to take that next step – actual product development.
CIFT President & CEO, Rebecca Singer announced the winners selected in recognition of their product concepts:
- Sarah Steinbrunner and Taylor Crooks of Sandusky, Ohio with their Bean Nut Butter: A delicious non-GMO and vegan nut butter that is free of the top eight allergens. Uniquely incorporates garbanzo beans which are high in protein and fiber, but lack high calorie and fat content association with regular nuts.
- Tina Smith and Ashtabula Farm Bureau member Nate Bissell of Jefferson, Ohio with their Sweet and Spicy Maple BBQ Sauce: A unique, all-natural barbecue sauce made with a kick of hot peppers but offering a special ingredient – the sweetness of pure Ohio maple syrup.
Following a review of written applications and presentations by food entrepreneurs and chefs to a panel of judges, the highest scoring concepts were selected based on the viability of the product, commercialization potential, business strategy, and overall appeal to the marketplace.
As a result of the award, technical assistance from CIFT will be provided to the startup businesses ranging from business planning, product/process development, shelf stability testing, labeling review, regulatory assistance, and batch product preparations for sampling. Later, production will take place at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK) in Bowling Green, Ohio. The NOCK is a commercially-licensed kitchen that educates and provides technical assistance to new and growing food businesses.
Ohio Farm Bureau has been a sponsor of the contest for the past four years.
CAPTION: Ohio Executive Vice President Adam Sharp, left, with Ohio Signature Food Contest winners Tina Smith of Jefferson who won with Sweet and Spicy Maple BBQ Sauce and Sarah Steinbrunner, Taylor Crooks and Collin Crooks of Sandusky who won with Bean Nut Butter and CIFT President and CEO Rebecca Singer.