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NY MilkLaunch’s Dairy Startup Competition To Focus On Gen Z Products

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The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York Dairy Promotion Order Advisory Board and VentureFuel have opened the registration for this year’s MilkLaunch startup competition. The program focuses on accelerating product innovation for dairy products in New York State with a new theme of products targeting Generation Z consumers (10-25 years old), with a focus on sustainability.

The competition will be run by VentureFuel, an innovation consultancy that builds accelerators and custom programs to futurize industries and corporations. MilkLaunch encourages entrepreneurs, startups or existing companies to introduce new dairy products including any type of product across cheese, yogurt, liquid milk, ice cream, butter, as well as makeup or clothing that specifically target Gen Z consumers, a group that is growing in size and purchasing power.

“We are thrilled to work with VentureFuel on the MilkLaunch program this year,” said Larry Bailey, chair of The New York State Dairy Promotion Order 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.”

The competition offers more than $200,000 in awards, including $10,000 stipends for up to six finalists to perfect their product via lab time, consumer 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 of the competition to get to market and drive dairy sales. 

“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 competition is intended for early-stage products ranging from ideas to existing new products. Products must contain at least 50 percent fluid dairy 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 and academics. 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 nymilklaunch.com. The deadline to apply is June 15.

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