Skip to main content
10th Annual Women Business Leaders Forum Register Today!

A new competition for producers of value-added dairy products is now open, giving dairy entrepreneurs, including those making products on organic and small farms, access to entrepreneurial and technical support.

The Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition supports food innovators launching new dairy products made from milk and/or dairy ingredients produced in 11 northeastern states, including New Jersey. With $365,000 in total awards, both finalists and winners will receive funding and technical support to quickly bring to market their innovative value-added dairy products, such as new cheeses, yogurts, ice cream, probiotic beverages and more.

The competition is open to all startups that are pre-formation or early-stage, have a viable product and scalable business model, and are ready to commit to scaling their products if they are selected as finalists. The product must utilize milk and/or dairy ingredients produced in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont in their production.

Up to 10 innovators will receive $20,000 in participant support, as well as business incubation services such as product prototyping and optimization, food safety and compliance training, and help with developing a business plan to bring products to market. Of these 10 innovators, up to three will be selected to receive an additional $55,000 and participate at the 2023 Dairy Innovation Showcase at the 2023 Grow-NY Summit in Upstate New York.

All finalists will receive mentoring and support from Cornell University’s globally recognized faculty, from both CALS Food Science and the SC Johnson College of Business. They will additionally receive time and services in Cornell’s Food Processing and Development Lab (FPDL), a licensed New York State dairy plant equipped with a wide selection of pilot-scale equipment with capabilities including drying, evaporating, HTST and Vat pasteurizing, separating, cheesemaking, fermentation tanks, yogurt processing, and packaging.

This program is funded by the USDA’s Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center. Hourlong online information sessions will be held outlining the competition’s objectives, timeline, and eligibility criteria on Feb. 14 at 4 p.m.; Feb. 28 at 11 a.m.; and March 7 at 4 p.m.

The application deadline is March 31. For more information about the Northeastern Dairy Product Competition, and to apply, go here.