DECATUR, ILL. — Soozie’s Doozies, L.L.C., a maker of gourmet cookie dough, was named the grand prize winner of the 2016 Food Innovation Challenge sponsored by Archer Daniels Midland Co. and National Foodworks Services. Olivia Kelvin and Robert Stanton of Union, Mo.-based Soozie’s Doozies will receive $50,000 in seed funding from ADM and $50,000 in marketing, production and commercialization services from National Foodworks Services, a food innovation center and co-packing facility.
Designed to connect entrepreneurs with industry experts and investors, the Food Innovation Challenge was announced this past April with a call for innovative products in the categories of baked foods, snack bars or condiments. Finalists included Kathy’s Kitchen, a Virginia, Ill.-based maker of an onion relish, and Sweet Freedom Gluten Free Bakery, a New Hampton, Iowa, producer of gourmet gluten-free cupcakes.
|Vince Macciocchi, president of ADM’s WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients business unit|
“The caliber of contestants we saw in the first year of this contest was truly impressive, and it’s a great reflection of the fantastic food innovation small entrepreneurs can bring to the table,” said Vince Macciocchi, president of ADM’s WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients business unit. “This challenge has been a great way to foster growth in new industry talent and build relationships with future food innovators. We congratulate all of the winners and look forward to seeing them prosper in the future.”
Ms. Kelvin and Mr. Stanton of Soozie’s Doozies presented gourmet refrigerated cookie dough, with help from mentors Jon Seighman, senior director of food applications, ADM’s WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients business unit, and John Wellehan, managing director, Good Food Business Accelerator.
“It’s tough being an entrepreneur, and sometimes you just want to quit,” Mr. Stanton said. “We couldn’t be more excited for the future of Soozie’s Doozies.”
Soozie’s Doozies cookies and cookie dough are made with organic milk and eggs, pure vanilla extract and unbleached flour, and no hydrogenated oils, bioengineered ingredients or preservatives. The pre-cut refrigerated cookie dough, packaged in a stand-up pouch and available in oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, sugar and double chocolate varieties, is sold in more than 800 retail outlets. Earlier this year, the company gained patent pending status for the product.“One of the major hurdles was to make the cookie dough without aluminum baking powder, which is an ingredient in refrigerated cookie dough that makes the cookies spread during baking,” Ms. Kelvin said. “A lot of people get concerned when they find out that there is aluminum in most brands of refrigerated cookie dough. Another major hurdle was to make cookie dough pieces that do not stick together and maintain their identity in the refrigerator.”