Grocer’s 2nd annual pitch contest will take place March 12 at Natural Products Expo West
Albertsons Cos. is on the hunt for emerging specialty and natural brands to vie for a spot on the grocer’s shelves. Independent food, beverage and pet product companies are invited to enter the 2nd Annual Albertsons Cos. Innovation Launchpad competition, during which they will compete live at Natural Products Expo West in California.
Independent brands that make between $2 million and $8 million in net retail sales are encouraged to apply for the opportunity to compete at the event on March 12. According to Albertsons, 50 applicants will be chosen to present their products, which should represent areas such as functional beverages, hydration, low sugar or carb, high protein, global flavors, healthy snacking, healthy prepared meals and premium pet items, to a panel of judges.
The top three winners chosen during the presentations will receive prizes valued at more than $300,000 total, including cash and industry services, and will be considered for distribution in all Albertsons Cos. banner stores.
“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 Cos. “We are so excited to host this event once again. The competition not only opens doors for these emerging brands, but also gives us the opportunity to discover new, innovative products for our customers.”
The three grand prize winners from last year’s event were Like Air Baked Puffcorn, Evive Smoothie Cubes and Dream Pops Plant-Based Ice Cream. Each brand received prizes valued at $170,000, and 10 of those brands received appointments with the grocer’s national team and data and consultation packages.
Applications for the Innovation Launchpad are being accepted now through Jan. 19 at launchpad2024.powerappsportals.com.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates more than 2,200 retail stores with 1,700-plus pharmacies, 402 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 19 manufacturing facilities. It has stores across 34 states and the District of Columbia under 24 banners, among them Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Carrs, Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lovers Market. Albertsons is No. 9 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company one of its Retailers of the Century.