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Let The Food Fight Begin

“It’s an opportunity not only to win prize money, but to network and get exposed to the resources that are out there to help them with their product.”

– JAYNE KJALDGAARD, MAFRI RURAL LEADERSHIP SPECIALIST

Manitobans with new food products they’re creating jump into the ring later this month to compete for thousands of dollars of prize money.

They’ll be competitors at the Great Manitoba Food Fight held annually at the Capturing Opportunities conference in Brandon April 23.

This is the third year Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) has organized the event, now annually attracting about two dozen competitors with innovative ideas in food creation.

Past entrants have brought foods like hickory smoked bacon and gluten-free perogies, ready-to-eat beef roasts and specialty chocolate.

It’s a great opportunity for a food entrepreneur to gain exposure and learn more about product and market development, says MAFRI rural leadership specialist Jayne Kjaldgaard.

“It’s an opportunity not only to win prize money but to network and get exposed to the resources that are out there to help them with their product.”

Three prizes worth $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 will be awarded, which are put toward customized services of the Food Development Centre at Portage la Prairie.

The FDC staff help food product developers with all aspects of food development, marketing and commercialization.

In 2009 the Great Manitoba Food Fight has expanded to include a Forks Edition, held March 27 in Winnipeg with eight competitors. On April 7, a Train for the Fight one-day workshop will be held at the FDC at Portage la Prairie to help competitors prepare for the Brandon event. The Great Manitoba Food Fight is an open event with spectators and visitors welcome.

Capturing Opportunities April 23 and 24 will also feature keynote speakers business creation and community economic development. Guest speakers include Ben Barry, the young entrepreneur behind the Dove Beauty campaign, and Chris Emery and Larry Finnson, Manitoba creators of the highly successful Clodhoppers Candy.

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About the author

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Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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