The second consecutive edition of the annual Naturally Chicago Pitch Slam event took place virtually on Feb. 17, unfolding in a perfectly timed series of eight energy-filled presentations by some of today’s most inspired—and inspiring—natural food and beverage entrepreneurs.
The eight finalists, chosen from dozens of nominees for this year’s event, were evaluated by a panel of prestigious industry judges: Katie Paul, vice president of category management and growth solutions at KeHE; JP Comte, president of the Americas region for Barilla; and Ryan Pintado Vertner, founder of Smoketown.
The runner-up of the event was Genesis Bencivenga Sr. of Lorenzo's Frozen Pudding, a line of better-for-you gourmet frozen pudding that features locally sourced fruits. And the Naturally Chicago Pitch Slam first-place award winner is Lil Bucks, a brand bringing the lesser-known superfood sprouted buckwheat into the mainstream, that was pitched by founder Emily Griffith.
Lil Bucks will receive a prize package valued at over $100,000, which includes a complimentary booth and opportunity to pitch at the 2021 Natural Products Expo East in Philadelphia, donated by New Hope Network.