The Food Innovation Challenge today announced the ten semi-finalists for the 2016 competition at a welcome reception at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. The semi-finalists were also matched up with food industry mentors to help guide them through the remainder of the competition.

"The selection pool of applicants we received for the first-annual Food Innovation Challenge was very impressive," said Mark Matlock, senior vice president of food research at Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), who is serving as one of the mentors. "Our goal now is to help each contestant think critically about all aspects of their food innovation - from the product formulation, to the ingredients they have chosen, to their target customer market and their entire business plan. We want to help these entrepreneurs develop their ideas as much as possible in the coming weeks to see which products have true potential in the marketplace."

The semi-finalists are:
  • Fiery Alyce, Chicago
  • Healthy Link Imports, St. Louis
  • Indian As Apple Pie, Chicago
  • Kathy's Kitchen, Virginia, Ill.
  • Soozie's Doozies, LLC, Union, Mo.
  • Stuart Family Organics, Custer, Mich.
  • Sweet Freedom Gluten Free Bakery, New Hampton, Iowa
  • Think.Eat.Live.Foods, LLC, Wildwood, Mo.
  • The Wiser Divider™, Marshalltown, Iowa
  • Yumbitz LLC, Clinton Township, Mich.

The finalists have eight weeks to further refine their products and business plans with the help of mentors from contest sponsors ADM and NFS as well as other industry groups and organizations. The finalists will reconvene in Decatur on August 9 where they will present their food concept and business plan to a panel of judges. The winners will be announced on August 11.

"We're excited for the opportunity to work with these fresh faces in the industry," said Jim Milano, Managing Partner, NFS. "Our job is to make sure entrepreneurs have the resources they need to be successful. If they have a good product, we are here to guide them and help them take the leap into the marketplace."

The First Place Grand Prize Winner of the 2016 Food Innovation Challenge will receive $50,000 in seed funding from ADM and $50,000 in services from NFS to help get their food idea off the ground. Additional prizes and services may be provided by other contest sponsors including Aripack, County Market, Dale's Southlake Pharmacy, Jones & Thomas, Merieux NutriSciences, Millikin University, PTL and Richland Community College. A full list of contest sponsors is available at www.foodinnovationchallenge.com in addition to more information about the finalists and their food innovations. The Food Innovation Challenge is also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest.

About The Food Innovation Challenge:

The Food Innovation Challenge is a start-up competition for aspiring Midwest cash entrepreneurs to showcase their new or early stage food business and product ideas. The First Place Grand Prize Winner will receive $50,000 from Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and $50,000 in services from National Foodworks Services (NFS) to help get their food idea off the ground. For more information and a full list of contest sponsors and partners, visit www.foodinnovationchallenge.com.

About ADM:

For more than a century, the people of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) have transformed crops into products that serve the vital needs of a growing world. Today, we're one of the world's largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers, with more than 32,300 employees serving customers in more than 160 countries. With a global value chain that includes 428 crop procurement locations, 280 ingredient manufacturing facilities, 39 innovation centers and the world's premier crop transportation network, we connect the harvest to the home, making products for food, animal feed, industrial and energy uses. Learn more at www.adm.com.

About National Foodworks Services:

National Foodworks Services is an incubator commercial kitchen project company. Resting in Illinois' billion dollar gateway, National Foodworks Services offers a full range of FDA approved commercial food processing including baking, bottling, freezing and packaging of consumer ready food products. National Foodworks Services will further expand opportunities for small or new food concepts looking to bring products to the consumer arena. For more, visit www.nationalfoodworks.com.

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