Nightfood claimed a sweet victory as grand prize winner of the Real California Milk Excelerator dairy innovation competition during a live pitch event held Nov. 18.
The competition, created in 2019 by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) and VentureFuel to spur innovation in new dairy product development, is a global search for the best emerging products to bring to market using California milk and dairy ingredients. As grand prize winner, Nightfood will receive $150,000 in resources and funding to bring their sleep-friendly ice cream novelties to hotel locations across the U.S.
Nightfood's mission is to help nighttime snackers around the world satisfy their hard-wired cravings in a better, healthier, and more sleep-friendly way. The company recently completed a successful pilot program with a leading global hotel chain to introduce Nightfood ice cream pints into hotel lobby shops across the country. Excelerator prizing will be used to help grow distribution for a novelty version of the ice cream in the hospitality channel.
"I'm honored for Nightfood to be selected by the CMAB, VentureFuel, and the panel of industry-expert judges as the first-place winner in this year's Excelerator competition. Sleep is becoming a massive health trend, and many consumers wrestle with hard-wired nighttime survival cravings for calorie-dense foods like cookies, chips, candy, and, of course, ice cream," said founder and CEO Sean Folkson. "Those high-sugar, high-fat snacks tend to be both unhealthy, and sleep disruptive. Nightfood helps consumers satisfy those prehistoric biological cravings in a better, healthier, more sleep-friendly way. With the help of the CMAB, we look forward to making Nightfood sleep-friendly ice cream sandwiches available in lobby shops in 20,000 hotels across the country."
Nightfood is one of four innovators selected from a field of 12 semi-finalist competitors to present to an all-star judging panel from the CPG, retail, venture capital, food science and media world.
This is the third event of its kind by the California dairy industry. While prior years focused on fluid milk and snacks, the 2021 competition spotlighted products using the nutritional and flavor profiles of real milk and dairy ingredients to deliver performance and recovery benefits in products ranging from sports drinks to indulgent desserts.
As the number one producer of fluid milk in the nation, California also leads the nation in sustainable dairy farming practices. More than 1,100 family dairy farms produce the California milk found in fluid milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream and other dairy products identified by the Real California Milk seal.