Food Entrepreneur BOISE, IDAHO — Albertsons Cos. is launching a competition for emerging specialty food, beverage and pet brands culminating in a live pitch event at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., on March 8.

Entrepreneurs may apply at through Jan. 31.

Sixty applicants will be selected to present products to a panel of judges, and the top three winners will receive prizes valued at $170,000, including cash, services and industry recognition. Winners also will be considered for distribution in Albertsons banner stores including Albertsons, Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, ACME, Pavilions, Kings Food Markets, Balducci's Food Lovers Market and Market Street. Areas of interest include low-sugar or low-carbohydrate products, plant-based products, functional beverages, global flavors, healthy prepared meals and premium pet items.

“We envision the Albertsons Innovation Launchpad competition to be a fun and engaging way to connect with up-and-coming entrepreneurs and brands,” said Jen Saenz, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Albertsons Cos. “We’re always looking to provide our customers fresh, innovative products and new meal ideas. Through this process, we are hoping to discover unique items that can be considered for distribution in any one of our banner stores.”

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