1. Trends & External Forces

Albertsons Hosts Competition for Emerging Natural and Specialty Brands

Albertsons is accepting applications for its second annual Innovation Launchpad competition, seeking up-and-coming specialty and natural brands representing food, beverage and pet products. Applications can be submitted through Jan. 19, 2024, and 50 finalists will be chosen to present their brands to a panel of judges. Awards for the top three winners will be presented at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif. on March 13.

The competition is open to independent specialty and natural food brands generating $2 million to $8 million in net retail sales, and the products should operate in areas such as functional beverage, hydration, low sugar or carb, high protein, global flavors, healthy snacking and prepared meals and premium pet items. The top brands selected will be considered for distribution in Albertsons Companies’ banners.

In 2023, the competition attracted more than 900 applications. Selected from 47 finalists, the winning brands — Like Air Baked PuffcornEvive Smoothie Cubes and Dream Pops Plant-Based Ice Cream — each received prizes valued at $170,000 including cash, services and industry recognition. Additionally, 10 brands received appointments with Albertsons’ national team and data and consultation packages.

“The inaugural Albertsons Cos. Innovation Launchpad competition was such a fun, engaging and lively way for us to connect with new brands, and we had a tremendous response from entrepreneurs hoping to have their products spotlighted,” said Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons in a statement. “The competition not only opens doors for these emerging brands, but also gives us the opportunity to discover new, innovative products for our customers.”

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