Next Big Small Brand Contest Comes to SF

Got a small food product business idea, but lack the resources to get it started? You’re in luck. The 3rd Annual Next Big Small Brand contest is now accepting applications from San Francisco until February 5. This is the first year that this annual New York based food contest is open to Bay Area residents.

The event is hosted and organized by The Rooster Design Group in New York. Sponsors include Whole Foods Market, Bi Rite Market and a few others. Among the 10 judges for the contest, I noticed 2 local names, Sam Mogannam, founder of Bi Rite Market, and Chad Robertson owner of Tartine Bakery.

All you home cooks out there, have any delicious snacks that everyone raves about, any unique sweet or savory confections, pastries, cookies, candies, sauces or a tasty salad dressing? Dad’s secret BBQ sauce, or grandma’s spicy salsa, could be the key to financial independence. As proof, read about the success of past winners from NY, Kombucha Brooklyn bottled drinks, and Sweet Loren’s healthy cookie dough.

According to the event’s FAQ, the submission could be just an idea or concept, and no professional cooking experience is necessary. So almost anything could work. Ever wish there was an ice cream flavor not available from commercial brands, more foods with ethnic flavors, or a healthier version of another common food product, with less fat, gluten free, low sodium, or more fiber, etc. Just think about it. Picture that food item at a grocery store sharing shelf space with products from Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck. I really think that the Bay Area’s food community of underground market vendors and gourmet street food, has what it takes to take the win this year.

The winner will receive kitchen appliances from Breville, branding, marketing and design services which includes identity, website, logo and packaging design, PR services to promote the product, and retail space at The Brooklyn Flea in NY, Bi Rite Market and/ or Whole Foods Market. Semifinalists will be interviewed during February 13 to March 2, and the final live panel judging party is on March 27 in NY. Note that the organizers will provide hotel accommodations for 2 nights in NY for the Bay Area finalists, but only one plane ticket per finalist. So any additional participants are responsible for their own transportation. Plan a budget that includes all costs for the final presentation to the judges. Applicants must be a US citizen and Bay Area resident to enter, which includes East Bay, North Bay and South Bay residents also, all the way down to Santa Clara!

And remember, submissions are due online by February 5. Good luck!