Last week I joined Heinen’s
chefs Jackie Novotny and James Mowcomber for the Finals of the 2nd Heinen’s SharkBank competition. We were tasked with selecting the winner from a pool of four finalists, each of whom already made it through a round of semi-finals.
In the running was Eddie Tancredi Culinary Steak Seasoning, a flavor seasoning developed by Adega chef Eddie Tancredi, Appling Food Products’ D’Ete Seasoning Sauce, a sweet and spicy jarred condiment, So Sweet! Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Bread, made with Ohio apples and pure cinnamon, and BackAttack Snacks Flavored Almonds, which come in a variety of flavors.
Each hopeful culinary entrepreneur offered samples of their product, presented a passionate pitch to judges, and explained why they should be the ones to walk away with the Grand Prize. That prize included an exclusive distribution of the product at all Heinen’s stores, four demos at each Heinen’s store for one year, placement in Heinen’s advertising and social media campaigns, and a future feature story in Edible Cleveland magazine.
The participants were judged not just on flavor, but also quality and transparency of ingredients, value, marketability and the ability to meet demand generated from approximately two dozen grocery stores.
In the end, the championship went to BackAttack Snacks
, which originated when founder Brian Back went searching for a delicious, healthy, and guilt-free snack to enjoy after fitness training. Not only are the nuts delicious, available in flavors like Sweet Stinger, made with local honey, and mildly spicy Wasabi Ginger, they are extremely viable and easily scaled up to meet demand.
Until they begin appearing at your local Heinen’s you can find them at The Grocery OHC in Ohio City, The Wine Spot in Cleveland Heights, various CrossFit gyms, and on their website.