In April, we wrote about “Stew’s Tank,” a competition modeled on the entrepreneurial television series “Shark Tank,” dreamed up by farm-fresh food chain Stew Leonard’s. The purpose of the competition was to identify exciting new products that would be sold at the company’s six locations (a seventh is slated to open in Paramus, N.J. this fall).
We are back to tell you that last Thursday, the winners of the inaugural Stew’s Tank competition were announced. The winners are:
- Bacaro Original Foods Eggplant Meatballs, Massapequa Park, N.Y.: a special blend of eggplant, panko, ricotta cheese, and Asiago cheese;
- Halesite Habanero Hot Sauce: unstrained, organic, small-batch hot sauce made with only eight fresh ingredients;
- Kitu Super Coffee, New York City: a blend of protein, healthy saturated fat from coconut oil, and caffeine from organic 100% Columbian Arabica coffee beans;
- The Famous Meatballers, Wantaugh, N.Y.: a combination of ground USDA beef cuts seasoned by Joe Chiodi, a New York City firefighter, with a secret mixture of fresh ingredients inspired by his mother-in-law’s original homemade meatball recipe.
The winning products, which beat out more than 130 entries from all over the state of New York, will appear on Stew Leonard’s shelves starting in August. Ideally, they will join the ranks of rock star brands Stew Leonard’s has launched, such as Newman’s Own, Bear Naked Granola, and Butera’s Meatballs.
“Every day, I see a line of vendors at Stew’s just waiting for the chance to pitch their product to our buying teams,” said Stew Leonard, Jr., president and CEO of Stew Leonard’s. “Stew’s Tank was a great way for us to get our customers involved in finding new and innovative products from local suppliers. We can’t wait to run another Stew’s Tank competition again soon!”
Given the number of shoppers at Stew Leonard’s, which exceeds more than 20 million annually, winning the Stew’s Tank competition is likely to be a business game-changer for the companies that make the victorious products. That likelihood is enhanced by the fact Stew Leonard’s famously carries some 2,000 different products, 80% of which are fresh.