New contest for small and emerging Michigan snack makers offers $50K in cash prizes and more

What’s happening: The application window has opened for what’s being billed as the “biggest snack competition in America,” the first-ever MI New Favorite Snack contest. Small and emerging snack-makers throughout the state are being encouraged to apply for the competition, which offers a chance at $50,000 in cash prizes and a distribution package from All Star Services, a vending machine and food and beverage services company headquartered in Port Huron.

How it works: Snack food companies have until an August 1, 2022, deadline to apply for the competition, which is open to companies headquartered in Michigan with 10 or less employees at the time of entry. Competing companies must be licensed and insured as well as have appropriately packaged snacks for purchase. There is a $100 registration fee required to apply.

To enter the MI New Favorite Snack contest, register online before proceeding to fill out the application.

Vantage Point in downtown Port Huron, site of the inaugural MI New Favorite Snack competition this September. File photo by Liz Fredendall.Race for the prize: Representatives from All Star Services will select the finalists for the grand prize, which will then compete at the MI New Favorite Snack event scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17, at Vantage Point in downtown Port Huron. Third place will receive $5,000, second place will receive $15,000, and the winner will receive $30,000 and a distribution package from All Star Services.

Blue Water Backing: Blue Water Area stakeholders are bullish on the inaugural competition, which organizers hope will become a yearly destination event on the shores of the St. Clair River. In addition to the major role Port Huron-based All Star Services plays in the contest, several other local organizations are helping to make this contest happen. The Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce has been tasked with organizing the logistics of the event. And the $50,000 in cash prizes is being provided by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County and the James C. Acheson donor advised fund.

What they’re saying: “Michigan has a long history of providing agriculture and food for Michigan and the country, and over the last several years we’ve seen an exciting growth in craft and specialty foods — especially the kind found in farmers markets and gourmet markets,” says Randy Maiers, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County.

“When we combine that history with our Community Foundation’s passion for supporting new and emerging micro-businesses, especially those in the gourmet craft food space, it made sense that we would get involved to offer a cash prize to support the MI New Favorite Snack contest. We think this could really be the beginning of something special, and it’s exciting to see place-based funders like our Community Foundation playing a prominent role in lifting up these new and emerging food entrepreneurs.”

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