CHICAGO, May 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Peapod.com, the country's leading online grocer, has named local entrepreneurs Nick Hamburger and Zach Schreier as the winners of the fourth annual Peapod's Next Best produced in collaboration with ABC 7's Windy City LIVE. The annual contest spotlights up-and-coming Chicago food and beverage entrepreneurs vying for the chance to receive a one-year distribution deal with Peapod that offers access to over 100,000 households across Chicago, Indianapolis and Milwaukee. The winner was announced during Windy City LIVE on April 29.
From main dishes to desserts and mixers to marinara, this year's winner was narrowed down from 20 food entrepreneurs and innovators whose products were scored on taste, packaging, marketability, innovation and product strategy.
After a taste throw down, Peapod's Next Best judges singled out Nick and Zach, childhood friends and Chicago natives who dropped out of college to create what they call the "Halo Top of the chip category with one unexpected hero ingredient - egg whites." The judges praised the high-protein, low-carb, gluten and lactose-free chip for being a delicious and functional on-the-go snack that still provides the nutrition of an omelet. The co-founders say were inspired by Zach's type-1 diabetes to pursue creating a delicious snack with a healthier nutrition profile. The Quevos Egg White Chips will be available for delivery beginning this summer for Peapod shoppers in the Midwest.
"The competition was intense, and contestants took inventiveness to a whole new level by creating unique variations of some of our favorite indulgences," said Tony Stallone, Vice President of Merchandising at Peapod. "However, Nick and Zach created a product with a level of innovation that blew us all away. They came with a compelling story and exuded a level of passion and commitment that's impressive," Stallone said.
Stallone teamed up with Next Best judges, Chicago restaurateurs Jimmy Bannos Senior and Bill Kim along with popular local food influencer Erica Eckman of the popular blog, Everything Erica, to sample the flavors, uncover the entrepreneurs' inspiration, and weigh in on the market potential of the products while Windy City Live's Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini hosted the contest.
"This competition was created to connect our customers with new, unique products by local food and beverage entrepreneurs. Our shoppers love that they can find local specialties in our Chicago's Best assortment of products. It really rounds out their shopping experience with us; they can get our great selection of fresh produce and pantry staples plus something really special that's distinctive to our town," Stallone said.
As a city known for its food, Chicago dished up some great competitors, including these five other finalists:
- Sulpice Chocolate Better Bites – Anne Shaeffer and her husband Bill are co-founders of this better-for-you yet sweet snack that delivers a similar nutritional profile as a snack bar with high protein, high fiber and omega-3s. The Sulpice Better Bites are a healthy snack, disguised as candy, but have the amazing taste of a chocolate covered peanut butter bite.
- Sacred Serve Gelato – Kailey Donewald is the chef behind Sacred Serve Gelato, a handcrafted desert made with a unique combination of the meat of certified organic young coconuts, potent superfoods, adaptogenic herbs and a hint of low-glycemic coconut sugar. The rich, creamy treat is packed with plant-based nutrition, with all flavors and ingredients being strictly free of gluten, dairy, corn, soy, GMO, gums, refined sugars or anything artificial.
- Chicago Distilling Company Chicago Mule – Noelle DiPrizio and her husband Jay are the creators of this perfectly portioned ready to enjoy cocktail that is made with vodka from their own distillery. Its fresh ginger juice adds a touch of spice and is finished of with citrus notes and a blend of sugar cane and honey.
- Silver Spoon Desserts Miniature Bundt Cakes – Tamara Turner's miniature bundt cakes are a premium and indulgent sweet treat that come in carrot, chocolate, and lemon – each topped with Silver Spoon Desserts' special recipe cream cheese mousse.
- Spark Organic Fruit Chews – Jonathon Soond is the entrepreneur behind these Premium Organic Fruit Chews that are made with real fruit and contain the equivalent of ½ serving of fruit. They come in three varieties including Superfruit, Classic and Tropical blend.
A Windy City success story itself, Peapod was founded 30 years ago in Chicago by brothers and Andrew and Thomas Parkinson. Peapod created the competition with ABC 7's Windy City Live in 2016 to lend its food industry expertise to the next generation of food and beverage entrepreneurs.
For more information on Peapod's Next Best, visit WindyCityLive.com. For more information on Peapod, visit Peapod.com.
Peapod, the online grocery brand of Peapod Digital Labs and an Ahold Delhaize USA company, is America's leading online grocer with nearly 50 million orders delivered to date. Peapod's intuitive, inspiring website and award-winning mobile app allow customers to shop faster and smarter as well as save time and money with each order. Peapod is an easy and convenient solution for the busy consumer shopping for fresh groceries, pantry staples and meal solutions.
Peapod is available in 24 metro markets both as a pure play online grocer as well as partner to the fine brands of Ahold Delhaize USA, including Giant Food, GIANT/MARTIN'S and Stop & Shop, offering delivery to both homes and businesses and more than 200 pick-up locations.