Soozie’s Doozies, LLC of Union, Missouri, was named the grand prize winner of the 2016 Food Innovation Challenge last night at the Decatur Club in Decatur, Illinois. Owners Olivia Kelvin and Robert Stanton will receive $50,000 in seed funding from Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) and $50,000 in services from National Foodworks Services (NFS), along with other prizes, all designed to help advance their food innovation.
“It’s tough being an entrepreneur, and sometimes you just want to quit. But tonight makes it all worthwhile. We couldn’t be more excited for the future of Soozie’s Doozies,” Stanton says.
Soozie’s Doozies received support from mentors Jon Seighman, senior director food applications, ADM’s WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients business unit; and John Wellehan, managing director, Good Food Business Accelerator to help refine their product business plan.
Kathy’s Kitchen of Virginia, Illinois, and Sweet Freedom Gluten Free Bakery of New Hampton, Iowa, were named the second and third place winners, respectively.
“The caliber of contestants we saw in the first year of this contest was truly impressive, and it’s a great reflection of the fantastic food innovation small entrepreneurs can bring to the table,” says Vince Macciocchi, president of ADM’s WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients business unit. “This challenge has been a great way to foster growth in new industry talent and build relationships with future food innovators. We congratulate all of the winners and look forward to seeing them prosper in the future.”
“All of the ten semi-finalists were really winners here because throughout this process, they gained access to top talent in the food industry and a great deal of insight to help grow their businesses,” says Tony Caccomo, managing partner, NFS. “And the City of Decatur is a winner here too because this contest allowed us to showcase the vast resources available to food entrepreneurs in this region as well as the potential for Decatur to be a national hub for food innovation.”