DECATUR TRIBUNE – Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Soozie’s Doozies, LLC of Union, Missouri, was named the grand prize winner of the 2016 Food Innovation Challenge Thursday at the Decatur Club in Decatur.

Owners Olivia Kelvin and Robert Stanton will receive $50,000 in seed funding from Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) and $50,000 in services from National Foodworks Services (NFS), along with other prizes, all “T to help advance their food innovation.

“It’s tough being an entrepreneur, and sometimes you just want to quit.  But tonight makes it all worthwhile.  We couldn’t be more excited for the future of Soozie’s Doozies,” Stanaton said.

Soozie’s Doozies received support from mentors Jon Steighman, senior director of food applications, ADM’s WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients business unit; and John Wellehan, managing director, Good Food Business Accelerator to help refine their product business plan.

Kathy’s Kitchen of Virginia, Illinois, and Sweet Freedom Gluten Free Bakery of New Hampton, Iowa, were named the second and third place winners, respectively.

“The caliber of contestants we saw in the first year of this contest was truly impressive, and it’s a great reflection of the fantastic food innovation small entrepreneurs can bring to the table,” said Vince Macciocchi, president of ADM’s WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients business unit.  “This challenge has been a great way to foster growth in new industry talent and build relationships with future food innovators.  We congratulate all the winners and look forward to seeing them prosper in the future.”

“All ten semi-finalists were really winners here because throughout this process. They gained access to top talent in the food industry and a great deal of insight to help grow their business,” said Tony Caccomo, managing partner, NFS. “And the City of Decatur is a winner here too because this contest allowde us to showcase the vast resources available to entrepreneurs in this region as well as the potential for Decatur to be a national hub for food innovation.”

Additional prizes and services were provided by other contest sponsors including Airpack, County Market, Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy, Jones & Thomas, and Merieux NutriSciences.

A full list of contest sponsors is available at in addition to more information about the finalists and their food innovations.

The Food Innovation Challenge is also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest.

The Food innovation Challenge is a start-up competition for aspiring Midwest cash entrepreneurs to showcase their new or early stage food business and product ideas.

DECATUR, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Food Innovation Challenge today announced the ten semi-finalists for the 2016 competition at a welcome reception at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. The semi-finalists were also matched up with food industry mentors to help guide them through the remainder of the competition.

“The selection pool of applicants we received for the first-annual Food Innovation Challenge was very impressive,” said Mark Matlock, senior vice president of food research at Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), who is serving as one of the mentors. “Our goal now is to help each contestant think critically about all aspects of their food innovation – from the product formulation, to the ingredients they have chosen, to their target customer market and their entire business plan. We want to help these entrepreneurs develop their ideas as much as possible in the coming weeks to see which products have true potential in the marketplace.”

The semi-finalists are:

  • Fiery Alyce, Chicago
  • Healthy Link Imports, St. Louis
  • Indian As Apple Pie, Chicago
  • Kathy’s Kitchen, Virginia, Ill.
  • Soozie’s Doozies, LLC, Union, Mo.
  • Stuart Family Organics, Custer, Mich.
  • Sweet Freedom Gluten Free Bakery, New Hampton, Iowa
  • Think.Eat.Live.Foods, LLC, Wildwood, Mo.
  • The Wiser Divider™, Marshalltown, Iowa
  • Yumbitz LLC, Clinton Township, Mich.

The finalists have eight weeks to further refine their products and business plans with the help of mentors from contest sponsors ADM and NFS as well as other industry groups and organizations. The finalists will reconvene in Decatur on August 9 where they will present their food concept and business plan to a panel of judges. The winners will be announced on August 11.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to work with these fresh faces in the industry,” said Jim Milano, Managing Partner, NFS. “Our job is to make sure entrepreneurs have the resources they need to be successful. If they have a good product, we are here to guide them and help them take the leap into the marketplace.”

The First Place Grand Prize Winner of the 2016 Food Innovation Challenge will receive $50,000 in seed funding from ADM and $50,000 in services from NFS to help get their food idea off the ground. Additional prizes and services may be provided by other contest sponsors including Aripack, County Market, Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy, Jones & Thomas, Merieux NutriSciences, Millikin University, PTL and Richland Community College. A full list of contest sponsors is available at in addition to more information about the finalists and their food innovations. The Food Innovation Challenge is also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest.

Read the full article here

DECATUR – Could the Decatur area become the “Silicon Valley” of food innovation?

That’s how high the partners are aiming after coming together Tuesday for Round One of a first-ever Food Innovation Challenge, pairing 10 small businesses from around the Midwest with local mentors in a competition for $100,000 in cash and services for the winning idea.

The cash comes from Archer Daniels Midland Co. and the services from National Foodworks Services, which opened eight weeks ago with ADM’s support, to assist entrepreneurs start or expand food-based businesses.


Click to see the video!

RyanBy Ryan Burk |

Published 02/05 2016 11:37AM

When it comes to starting a small business, finding a place to have your product produced can often be one of the biggest challenges start-ups face. It is especially true in the food industry, where having a facility that is capable of handling large quantities of product and meeting all health code regulations can be a challenge. A new business in Decatur called National Foodworks is looking to help companies solve that problem.


Chris Lusvardi,

The first steps in what Tony Caccomo believes will transform Decatur are moving closer to being completed. Caccomo provided an updNFS-header-logoate Wednesday during the Mount Zion Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon at the Gin Mill restaurant in downtown Decatur about plans for National Foodworks Services, a business which is currently under construction in Decatur. The project is transforming the former Brush College School building into a food innovation center.


Chris Lusvardi,

DECATUR — The makings of what Tony Caccomo sees as a massive transformation in locally based food production and distribution are starting to be put in place.

Caccomo and a group of business partners are in the middle of creating National Foodworks Services in the former Brush College School at 575 N. Brush College Road in Decatur. They see the business succeeding partially because of its location surrounded by major manufacturers and rich farmland.

“We’re at the heart of food innovation in the entire country,” Caccomo said. “We have an opportunity right here. It’s smacking us in the face.”

Scott Perry, October 26, 2015

DECATUR — National Foodworks Services, LLC, a food-processing center and co-packing facility headquartered in Decatur, is pleased to announce the formation of Heart of America Foodworks, Ltd.

HOAF-logoHOAF is a nonprofit that will explore collaborations with local food banks and charities to assist with its mission to distribute nutritious food products to under-served communities throughout Central Illinois and the Midwest.