Ninth annual Great Manitoba Food Fight seeks competitors

This year’s annual Great Manitoba Food Fight will be held October 14 at the cooking studio of DeLuca’s Specialty Foods Store in Winnipeg.

Last year the venue for the food entrepreneur competition was moved from Brandon to Winnipeg. This is the first year the competition has been held in autumn instead of early spring.

“We hope it will be better for our clients,” said Shauna McKinnon, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) business development specialist. “Many are farmers’ market vendors trying to move beyond the farmers’ market and commercialize their product and we just thought fall will be a better time because markets will be wrapped up.”

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Ten Manitobans with a new food or beverage product ready to showcase each year are chosen for the competition after submitting applications pitching their product and business idea. The deadline to apply this year is Sept. 7.

This is the ninth annual Great Manitoba Food Fight, which had its origins as part of the provincial Rural Forum and Capturing Opportunities events held at the Keystone Centre in Brandon.

“We have many talented entrepreneurs in Manitoba who are anxious to bring innovative, delicious products to market,” said MAFRD Minister Ron Kostyshyn in a news release.

“The Great Manitoba Food Fight is a fun, effective way to single out the best culinary creations that are ready to move forward with commercialization.”

The Great Manitoba Food Fight (GMFF) is sponsored by the Manitoba government and the Manitoba Food Processors Association (MFPA).

The event provides food entrepreneurs with an opportunity to fast track their products to commercialization by competing for product development and service awards. A panel of judges will award three prize packages, with cash and services valued at $3,700, $7,000 and $11,200.

“Seeing the product and the market opportunity through the eyes of the judging panel can be a very rewarding experience. It can uncover issues and sales options that the entrepreneur hadn’t considered before,” said MFPA executive director Dave Shambrock.

In recent years, winning products have included Walleye Wonders, Boreal Berry Bar, the Great Gorp Bar, Maple Mead, Apple Breakfast Sausage, Rawdical Chocolate Hemp Cookies and Imperial Cookies. Since the competition began in 2007, more than 100 entrepreneurs have taken part in the event.

The application form, rules and eligibility requirements are available online or by calling 204-841-4084.

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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