Peapod announces winner in food startup pitch contest

by Andreas Rekdal
March 7, 2016

Chicago online grocer

today announced that Old Arthur’s Barbecue Sauce — an Illinois-based family-owned business — is the winner of its Next Best televised contest put on in collaboration with ABC 7’s Windy City LIVE.

The aim of the competition was to find the region's next big food and drink entrepreneur.

As winners of the contest, Old Arthur's owners Eudell Watts III and Eudell Watts IV — a father and son team — will receive a one-year distribution deal with Peapod in its markets in the Chicagoland area as well as in Indianapolis and Milwaukee. They will also receive promotion on Peapod’s website as well as through its marketing channels.

"We’ve known for years that Chicago is one of the best food cities in the world, and Old Arthur’s Barbecue Sauce is a shining example of the passionate food and beverage talent that the Windy City has to offer,” said Tony Stallone, Peapod’s vice president of merchandising and Peapod’s Next Best mentor in a statement.

Peapod’s Next Best contest, which began on February 1, had over 150 applicants from the food industry pitching their products to a panel of notables from the Chicago food scene. Other finalists in the competition included Wisma Tortilla Chips and 10th Avenue Tea.

The winning product is based on a recipe developed by Arthur Watts — a relative of the company's founders — who was freed from slavery in 1863 and went on to work as an open pit barbecue chef.

“We are so excited Old Arthur’s Barbecue was selected as winner of Peapod’s Next Best,” said Windy City LIVE executive producer Matt Knutson in a statement. “Knowing the rich tradition behind Old Arthur’s makes an already great sauce excellent.”

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