2020 VT Products Pitch Logo_banner

CALLING ALL UVM STUDENTS

Do you like to design and create? Enjoy marketing and advertising? Are you an innovative thinker? Be a part of the first annual Vermont Products Pitch competition!

The Vermont Products Pitch is a product innovation competition that challenges UVM students to come up with a new product around a specific theme. This year's competition focuses on dairy, meaning the product must incorporate cow, sheep or goat dairy ingredients. Competing as individuals or in teams, students will be challenged to create the next innovative product that uses dairy as a primary ingredient. From idea conception, to product development, label and packaging design, marketing, and production, students will find out what it takes to bring a new product to market. The competition culminates in a trade show-style final pitch event on April 24, 2020 where teams will compete in front of judges for cash prizes.

Why Dairy?

The Vermont dairy industry continues to evolve as the number of dairy farms in the state decline, yet the number of cows in Vermont and milk produced is steady.  These farms are critical to our working landscape and valued by both Vermonters and visitors to the state. Vermont dairy products have been recognized worldwide, including cheeses from cows, goats, and sheep. There are many value-added specialty foods that use dairy as a primary ingredient, such as butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt, ice cream, and cream cheese. There are also innovative pet foods and other non-food products that use whey and other dairy ingredients. This competition challenges students to think outside the box to identify new opportunities for dairy ingredients. 

How It Works

Throughout the fall semester, teams will have access to workshops and mentorship as they develop their project proposals (see guidelines below). The top 10-15 teams will be selected to continue the development of their products in Spring 2020. Each team will receive a $500 budget and mentorship to develop their products. Teams will present their final products at the 2020 Vermont Products Pitch event in Livak Ballroom in UVM's Davis Center on April 24, 2020. 

Download proposal guidelines (PDF)

  • Prizes

    • Grand Prize: $5000

    • Runner Up: $3000

    • Most Innovative Product: $1000

    • Best Packaging & Labeling: $1000

    • Best Use of Vermont Ingredients: $1000

Who is eligible to participate?

Participation is open to all currently enrolled UVM students, regardless of college or major. Undergraduate as well as graduate students are eligible. Students may participate as an individual or as part of a team. Maximum of three students per team. 

How do I participate?

Students must submit a product propsal by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, December 13. Proposals should include the following information. 

Student/Team Information:

  • Provide first and last name of all members of the team. Include NETID, home college, and class standing for each student. Also, please indicate a student captain for the team.

Proposal Questions:

  • Describe the dairy product you will pitch.
  • What dairy ingredients will be used in this product? (Please note, you are not expected to have the recipe or final product determined at this point.)
  • What percentage of the final product do you anticipate dairy ingredients will represent? Please describe.
  • If you are creating a new recipe, please indicate the ingredients you anticipate needing for this product.  (You will finalize the recipe with UVM Dining Chefs if the proposal is accepted.)
  • Describe the demographic and behavioral characteristics of the target audience for your proposed dairy product. (For example: age, income, education, disposable income, geographic location, family size, hobbies, values, spending habits, trends, lifestyle, etc.)
  • Elaborate on how this product is unique in the marketplace.  How is your recipe, packaging, or use of product different than the competition?  Who is the competition?  Why does your product fulfill a need for the target audience?
  • What packaging will you consider for your product?  What attributes will be associated with your packaging?  Recycled and environmentally-friendly?  Ease of use?  Convenience?  Nostalgic or vintage?  Unique shape, serving size, pairing?
  • Please provide a draft of your product label.  This does not need to be a final version, but DOES need to include all of the required information to be a legal label to sell your product in Vermont.

All proposals must be submitted either by email to cfinleyw@uvm.edu or in person to Emma Lane in the CALS Dean's Office (106 Morrill Hall) by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, December 13. No late proposals will be accepted. 

How will proposals be evaluated?

The following criteria will be used to evaluate proposals:

  • Innovativeness and creativity of proposed product
  • Innovativeness and creativity of packaging and labeling
  • Use of Vermont dairy and other ingredients
  • Commercial feasibility
  • Product research evidenced by content of proposal

Accepted proposals will receive a budget for product development expenses and the opportunity to compete at the 2020 Vermont Products Pitch event on April 24, 2019. 

Upcoming Workshops

  • Wednesday, December 4 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. (Morrill Hall 010)

Contact

Kate Finley Woodruff
cfinleyw@uvm.edu
802-656-1032

Rachel Leslie
rachel.leslie@uvm.edu
802-656-0555