Three Manitobans making speciality food products are this year’s prizewinners at the Great Manitoba Food Fight competition held in Winnipeg on October 14.
Two women, both originally from the Swan River area, took home the gold and silver prizes. The third-place winner is owner of a Grand Marais company producing birch syrup.
Cori Poon of Sweet C Bakery in Winnipeg impressed the judges to win gold with her lime and toasted coconut made-from-scratch gourmet cookie dough, pre-portioned into single-serving balls and sold frozen for quick baking.
Carly Minish, who recently launched her Smak Dab Foods business to sell gourmet mustard, won silver for a maple-flavoured mustard used as either a dip or condiment.
Glenda Hart, co-owner of The Canadian Birch Co. took the bronze medal for what judges described as “an incredible jam,” bacon flavoured and made with the company’s very own Manitoba birch syrup.
The Food Fight competition was switched to October this year, and held at De Luca’s Specialty Foods Store in Winnipeg. Seven of the 10 competitors were based in Winnipeg this year. Other competitors brought various types of baked goods, including distinctive bread products popular in African and some Asian countries, plus gourmet cookies and shortbread made from old family recipes.
The three finalists receive prize packages worth $11,000, $7,000 and $3,500 respectively to be used for recipe refinement, package design, marketing, and attending training that will help the business owners commercialize their products.
The Great Manitoba Food Fight highlights the many exceptional and delicious locally made foods being produced in Manitoba, Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn said in a news release.
“Each year, the Great Manitoba Food Fight uncovers some of the best new food ideas in the province.”
Dave Shambrock, executive director of the Manitoba Food Processors Association said the Food Fight is one of the resources helping new food makers get started in Manitoba.
“It can be a little daunting to try and break into the food industry, but fortunately there are all kinds of resources to help entrepreneurs get their start in our province,” he said.
There are approximately 250 food and beverage processors in Manitoba. The province has a goal to push the value of food processing in this province to $5.5 billion by 2022.
Currently, food and beverage manufacturing employs more than 14,000 Manitobans and produces more than $4.5 billion in finished products annually.