California Milk Advisory Board’s Real California Milk Excelerator, Powered by VentureFuel, Launches Quest for New Dairy Innovation

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Jennifer Giambroni
(209) 690-8244


Tracy, Calif. – May 23, 2022 – The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) today announced the return of its annual dairy innovation competition for the fourth year running. This year's Real California Milk Excelerator, created in partnership with innovation consultancy VentureFuel, brings a new, expansive focus to accelerate any dairy-based product – from traditional consumer food and beverage items to textiles, haircare, and beyond. The competition will award up to $500,000 in prizes for new innovative dairy products that introduce novel benefits in any form and drive consumption of Real California dairy.

The 2022 Real California Milk Excelerator enables innovation in its truest state: open. Given dairy’s versatility of benefits and functionality, from nutrition and flavor to texture and chemical composition, this open approach encourages innovation across product categories, all leveraging the versatility of the dairy ecosystem. It also taps into two of California’s incredible resources – an abundant supply of sustainably sourced California milk and the state’s entrepreneurial spirit.

"Real dairy provides a package of functional and practical benefits that’s hard to replicate. We’re seeing an increase in unique products that leverage these benefits emerging in the market. By expanding the competition to all new dairy-based products, versus a specific category, we’re creating more opportunity to make a meaningful difference in consumers' lives and in the utilization of milk from California’s family dairy farms," said John Talbot, CEO of the CMAB. "With the Excelerator platforms we’ve established over the past four years, we will be able to support companies as they innovate and establish these products in the market."

As one of the biggest dairy competitions in the world, the program seeks early-stage, high-growth potential applicants with a 50% cow's milk-based product or working prototype.

Up to eight applicants will be selected to join the RCM Excelerator program. Each will have access to a group stipend and a robust network of resources to refine and scale their product and business. They will also participate in the CMAB/VentureFuel Mentorship Program, consisting of elite counsel from successful founders, investors, leading corporate executives, and experts across design, marketing, sales, manufacturing, distribution, farming, and processing industries.

VentureFuel, Inc., a leading corporate innovation consultancy, is driving what’s next – now – in dairy innovation through the continued partnership with CMAB. "Each year, we tap into our global network of investors, founders, academics, and idea generators to maximize collective opportunities,” said Fred Schonenberg, Founder of VentureFuel, Inc. “Innovation continues to accelerate in product volume and the speed from idea to market. Now, we are matching the most promising companies with capital to be deployed intentionally, and with significant near-term, tangible impact.”

This year, for the first time, the odds of receiving an award are higher than ever, with up to four of the eight participants receiving $50,000 each to grow and expand their product in California. One of the participating companies will unlock an additional $100,000 grand prize by establishing their presence in California and exhibiting the most promising growth within the 12 months after the finals. The total value of all competition awards tallies in at half a million dollars.

More details including competition rules, timeline and application are available at The deadline to apply is July 17th, 2022.

California, known for innovation, has a reputation for quality dairy products. As the number one milk producer in the U.S., California also leads the nation in sustainable dairy farming practices. More than 1,100 family dairy farms produce the milk found in fluid milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, and other dairy products identified by the Real California Milk seal.


About Real California Milk/California Milk Advisory Board

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), an instrumentality of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is funded by the state's dairy farm families who lead the nation in sustainable dairy farming practices. With a vision to nourish the world with the wholesome goodness of Real California Milk, the CMAB's programs focus on increasing demand for California's sustainable dairy products in the state, across the U.S. and around the world through advertising, public relations, research, and retail and foodservice promotional programs. For more information and to connect with the CMAB, visit, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.


About VentureFuel, Inc.
Founded in 2014, VentureFuel is an independent innovation consultancy that builds innovation programs for industry leaders by unlocking the power of external innovation through startup collaboration. Its programs focus on changing behaviors and beliefs to unlock new sources of growth. We provide senior leaders with the tools to drive transformative change within their organizations by opening their teams to new ways of working, products, services and routes to market. Learn more at:, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.  You can listen to The VentureFuel Visionaries podcast on Apple, Spotify or Simplecast.

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