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Food Fight Challengers Sought

The fifth annual Great Manitoba Food Fight is open for challengers, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Stan Struthers announced Nov. 24.

Manitobans with a great new food or beverage idea are invited to enter the Great Manitoba Food Fight scheduled in April as part of the 2011 Capturing Opportunities event.

“In the past four years, we have witnessed the launch of some amazing new food and beverage products from creative Manitoba food processors, producers and individuals who had a prizewinning recipe and desire to become entrepreneurs,” said Struthers. “I encourage anyone with a good idea to consider entering this competition to launch the next great made-in-Manitoba taste sensation.”

The 2011 edition of the Great Manitoba Food Fight will be held in Brandon at Assiniboine Community College’s (ACC) Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts (MICA) on Wednesday, April 20. The location of this year’s event will give the competing food and beverage entrepreneurs the opportunity to work with both first-year and second-year student chefs at the college.

Applications are available by contacting Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) consumer trends specialist Jeff Fidyk, chair of the Great Manitoba Food Fight 2011, at jeff. [email protected] or by phone at 204- 871-0491, or from any MAFRI GO Office. Applications must be submitted by Dec. 15 and must include a business plan for the development and commercialization of the product.

MAFRI staff is available to work with food entrepreneurs and applicants of the Great Manitoba Food Fight in the development and fine tuning of their business plans, Struthers said. Contestants will have until Feb. 1, 2011, to submit the final draft of their business plan at which time the top 10 competitors will be selected and entered in the final phase of the competition.

“Working with the competitors will give our students experience in dealing with a food client on a unique, new-product concept and expose them to the food development aspect of the business,” said Derrick Turner, dean of ACC’s school of business, agriculture and environment. “The students can add a fresh perspective by providing suggestions on other applications for the product that could influence its plating and presentation to the judges, and the final marketing plan.”

Competitors pitch their product ideas and provide a product sample to a panel of judges. First-, second-and third-place finalists receive product development awards valued at $15,000, $10,000 or $5,000. Prizes can be used for a variety of expenses such as research and development at the Food Development Centre, the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, the University of Manitoba or at other Manitoba research facilities. Prizes can also be used toward relevant training activities with direct application to commercializing a particular food product, like business planning, recipe refinement, package design, marketing and workshops related to value chains, trade shows, business management and food processing, safety and handling.

The 2010 competition attracted 17 participants representing 15 communities.

The Great Manitoba Food Fight is presented by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives in partnership with the Assiniboine Community College’s Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts.

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