BOISE, IDAHO — National grocer Albertsons Companies announced Jan. 8 it will host its second annual Innovation Launchpad competition during Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., on March 12. The competition is inviting specialty and natural food brands — including premium pet products — with between $2 million and $8 million in net retail sales to apply.

“The inaugural Albertsons Cos. Innovation Launchpad competition was such a fun, engaging and lively way for us to connect with new brands, and we had a tremendous response from entrepreneurs hoping to have their products spotlighted,” said Jennifer Saenz, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Albertsons Companies.

Albertsons will select 50 applicants in the functional beverage, hydration, low sugar or carb, high protein, global flavors, healthy snacking, healthy prepared meals, and premium pet spaces to showcase their brands to a panel of judges at Natural Products Expo West. Three winners will be crowned and receive prizes in cash and industry services at a value of more than $300,000. Awards will be presented on March 13.

Brands chosen to compete in this year’s Innovation Launchpad will also have the opportunity to have their products distributed in Albertsons, Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, ACME, Pavilions, Kings Food Markets, Balducci’s Food Lovers Market, Market Street, and Haggen stores across the United States.

“We are so excited to host this event once again,” Saenz added. “The competition not only opens doors for these emerging brands, but also gives us the opportunity to discover new, innovative products for our customers.”

Last year’s Innovation Launchpad program saw more than 900 applicants, of which 47 went on to compete for prizes valued at $170,000. Of those 47 candidates, 10 went on to partner with Albertsons Cos., and three grand prize winners were selected: Like Air Baked Puffcorn, Evive Smoothie Cubes and Dream Pops Plant-Based Ice Cream.

Applications for the 2024 Albertsons Cos. Innovation Launchpad competition are now open through Jan. 19. Learn more about the competition and how to apply at

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