Northeast Ohio Signature Food Contest looking for local recipes


TOLEDO — Countless well known national food products are made in Ohio — Dannon yogurt, Campbell’s Soup, Orlando breads, Heinz ketchup, Keebler cookies, Smucker’s jellies and jams, Prego sauce, and Chex cereals.

All started once as simply an idea.

The Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) is sponsoring the Northeast Ohio Signature Food Contest, which showcases many local flavors and recipes ready for actual product development.

Grandma’s mincemeat

Great homemade recipes often remain a staple item and are passed down generation-to-generation. But rarely does an item, such as a unique salad dressing or a delicious cookie, begin mass production for the general public to experience — until now.

“Consumer interest in local food products continues to rise, which is timed perfectly for the launch of new, innovative food products from the northeast Ohio region,” said Rebecca A. Singer, vice president and director of agricultural programs, CIFT.

Friendly competition

This friendly competition helps encourage and foster additional business within the region by way of the food industry.

Contestants will submit a form outlining the basic details of their recipe, and food industry experts will judge each based on the viability of the product, commercialization potential, business strategy, marketability and overall appeal to the marketplace.

Finalists will be invited to present their business concept and food product to a panel of judges. The contest winner will receive technical and business development assistance which is essential for the advancement of a product into the marketplace, as well as production of product to be used for consumer feedback.

Get cookin’

Following this education, product production will take place at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK), located at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The NOCK is a nonprofit commercial facility that educates and advises new and growing businesses, provides access to a commercially-licensed kitchen, networking opportunities with other similar entities, and technical assistance.

Deadline to submit the completed application is Oct. 14, 2011 (only one product per applicant).

Contact Paula Ray, small business coordinator, CIFT, at 419-535-6000, ext. 117 for more information, or obtain an application form along with rules/regulations at


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