Fresh Thyme Market Launches Open Call to Find the Best Better-For-You Birthday Cake in the Midwest

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — Fresh Thyme Market, a full-service specialty natural foods and grocery retailer with 70 stores in 10 states throughout the Midwest, is giving local bakeries the chance to win $10,000 in celebration of its 10th birthday. To honor a decade of freshness, Fresh Thyme Market is inviting local bakeries to submit fresh, better-for-you cake recipes for a chance to be named the brand’s official 10th birthday cake, plus a cash prize of $5,000 for their business, an additional $5,000 donation towards a Fresh Thyme Market local Feeding America food bank, and mentorship from an expert panel*.

“We are excited to celebrate our 10th birthday with this contest that not only honors our commitment to fresh, wholesome ingredients, but showcases the talented bakeries in our communities,” said Liz Zolcak, president at Fresh Thyme Market. “At Fresh Thyme, we’re dedicated to helping provide consumers with healthier solutions for real living, including during those moments of celebration. Better-for-you can look different to different people, and we’re proud to be a go-to resource for both everyday shoppers and bakers looking for these types of products.”

Fresh Thyme Market invites all local bakeries and community members in the communities it operates in to celebrate the brand’s 10th birthday by submitting a cake recipe or casting a vote for the winner. Local bakeries with a Fresh Thyme Market in their state** are invited to submit the following at from today until April 26, 2024 at 11:59pm CT*:

  • Their winning better-for-you cake recipe using one produce item, one alternative flour, and three other Fresh Thyme Market-branded ingredients
  • A video answering the question, “How do you shop at Fresh Thyme Market?”

Three finalists will have their cakes sampled during in-store events on May 18, 2024 at all Fresh Thyme Market locations. Shoppers at these locations will have the opportunity to taste and vote for their favorite cake to be named the winner. Plus, Fresh Thyme Market is raffling off 10 Fresh Thyme Market gift cards valued at $100 each to shoppers who participate.

Since 2014, Fresh Thyme Market has been the go-to Midwest destination for local, fresh, and quality food. What started with a single location in Illinois has now flourished into 70 stores across 10 states and a growing team of over 4,000 individuals, all united by Fresh Thyme Market’s commitment to quality products and service. Looking towards the future, Fresh Thyme Market is proud to continue being a place for shoppers to discover the latest trends and experience the latest in innovation.

Here’s to another decade of freshness, community, and supporting local businesses.

To learn more and find a Fresh Thyme Market location near you, visit

About Fresh Thyme Market
Fresh Thyme Market, a local, community-focused grocer with 70 stores in 10 states throughout the Midwest, was born from a genuine desire to help people live better and healthier lives. Every day Fresh Thyme Market works to be a trusted resource in our communities, bringing people access to real food at real affordable prices. With a local focus on what the community needs, each store provides fresh, natural, and organic food at affordable prices. By offering an immersive, intuitive shopping experience, Fresh Thyme Market meets people wherever they are on their journey to living a healthier lifestyle. To learn more, visit

* Terms and conditions apply. See OFFICIAL RULES below.
** Fresh Thyme Market stores can be found in the following 10 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Fresh Thyme Market 2024 10th Birthday Cake Contest



1. HOW TO ENTER: The Fresh Thyme Market 2024 10th Birthday Cake Contest (the “Contest“) begins at 9:00 a.m. CST on April 10, 2024 and ends at 2:00 p.m. CST on May 18, 2024. Sponsor’s computer is the official time-keeping and counting device for the Contest. To enter a submission, go to follow the prompts as directed to enter the Contest and upload high resolution picture of the submission and submission entry, inlcuding a recipe with the requirements listed below and a video answering the question “How do you shop at Fresh Thyme Market?” (collectively, the “Submission“). Submissions will be accepted 9:00 a.m. CST on April 10, 2024 until 11:59 p.m. CST on April 26, 2024 (the “Entry Period“). 

Submission may not be obscene, pornographic, or otherwise inconsistent with the Sponsor’s brand or image, and must adhere to the submission requirements herein. Entrants represent and warrant that their Submission is the original work of such entrant, has not been copied from others, has not previously won awards, does not violate the rights of any other person or entity, and has not been published previously. Entrants further represent and warrant that publication of their Submission via various media, including Web posting and on merchandise, will not infringe on the rights of any third party.

Entering a Submission grants Sponsor the right to publish, use, adapt, edit and/or modify the Submission submitted in any way, in any and all media, without limitation, and without consideration to the entrant.

Entering the Contest does not make you an automatic winner.  During the Entry Period, participants may enter only one unique Submission. Sponsor is not responsible for late, incomplete, invalid, unintelligible, illegible entries, and such entries will be disqualified. One (1) Submission will be selected and the prize will be awarded in accordance with Sections 3 and 4 below. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Contest at any time.

2. ELIGIBILITY: Entrants must be an entity qualified to do business in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. Employees of Fresh Thyme Market and its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, representatives or agencies, and their immediate families or persons residing in the same household of such employees (collectively “Sponsor & Others“), and other individuals/entities associated with this Contest, are not eligible to enter or win. This Contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law and is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws. 


  • recipe must include a fruit or vegetable;
  • recipe must include almond flour, whole wheat flour, cassava flour, oat flour, or coconut flour;
  • recipe must include three (3) Fresh Thyme Market branded items (e.g. vanilla extract, flour, eggs, sugar, etc.);
  • Bakery must be located within 100 miles of a Fresh Thyme Market location;

3. PRIZE, ODDS OF WINNING PRIZE and APPROXIMATE RETAIL VALUE (“ARV”): The prize for this Contest consists of the following (the “Prize“): a mentorship program with industry experts, $5,000 for the winning Submission and a donation of $5,000, made to a charitable organization of Fresh Thyme Market’s choosing that aligns with Fresh Thyme Market’s brand pillars of Real Quality, Real Experience and Real Community. Total ARV: $5,000. Other than shipping of the prize money (which will be paid for by Sponsor), all other costs associated with the Prizes not specified or mentioned and all applicable federal state and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the winner. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. No transfer of Prize, Prize substitution or cash equivalent of Prize is permitted, except at Sponsor’s sole discretion, and then only for a prize of equal or greater value. The Sponsor & Others make no warranty, representation or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to the use of the Prize including, without limitation, quality, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In the event any component of any Prize is unavailable, Sponsor reserves the right to substitute for a prize of equal or greater value.

a. Top six (6) Submissions: On or about April 29, 2024, a panel of three qualified Fresh Thyme Market team members (the “Judges“), will review all the Submissions received during the Entry Period. The Judges will confirm the Submissions are eligible and meet the Recipe and Entry Requirements, then judge the Submissions using the Initial Judging Criteria below. The six (6) Submissions with the highest Judges score will be the semi-finalists (the “Semi-Finalists“). In the event of a tie, the Submission with the highest score in Judging Criteria (1) “Video Content” will be declared a Semi-Finalist. In the event there is still a tie, the Submission with the highest score in Judging Criteria (2), “Creativity of Recipe”, will be declared a Semi-Finalist. In the event there is still a tie, the Submission with the highest score in Judging Criteria (3), “Visual Appearance”, will be declared a Semi-Finalist. All decisions of Judges and Sponsor are final and binding. The six (6) Semi-Finalists will be contacted via email on or around May 7, 2024 to request they come to the Fresh Thyme Market offices for the Semi-Final Round on May 6, 2024 in Downers Grove, IL. 

Initial Judging Criteria:
1) Video Content (30%)
2) Creativity of Recipe (40%)
3) Visual Appearance (30%)

b. Semi-Final Round: On or about May 6, 2024, the six (6) Semi-Finalists will each bring their baked cake and recipe to the Fresh Thyme Market Headquarters, located at 2650 Warrenville Road, Suite 700, Downers Grove, IL 60515 from 11am-1pm CST, for Judging by the Judges. The Judges will review the Semi-finalists’ Submissions against Semi-Finalist Judging Criteria below. The top three (3) Submissions with the highest Judges score will be entered into the Final Selection on May 18, 2024. In the event of a tie, the Submission with the highest score in Judging Criteria (1) “Taste” will be declared the Finalist. In the event there is still a tie, the Submission with the highest score in Judging Criteria (2), “Creativity of Recipe”, will be declared a Finalist. In the event there is still a tie, the Submission with the highest score in Judging Criteria (3), “Visual Appearance”, will be declared a Finalist. All decisions of Judges and Sponsor are final and binding. The three (3) finalists will be contacted on or around May 7, 2024.

Semi-Finalist Judging Criteria:
4) Taste (40%)
5) Creativity of Recipe (30%)
6) Visual Appearance (30%)

c. Final Selection: On or about May 18, 2024, all Fresh Thyme Market stores will host a Summer Grilling Birthday Party Event (the “Event“) from 11am-2pm, asking shoppers to taste test and vote for their favorite of the three (3) Finalists’ cakes. The cakes for the Events will be baked according to the recipe provided in the Entry Period Submission by commissary bakeries and shipped to Fresh Thyme Market stores.

d. Winner Announcement. The cake with the most votes from the Final Selection Events will be declared the Winner and will be contacted on or about June 10, 2024.  

The potential winner will be required to sign and return a notarized Affidavit of Eligibility/Compliance (including, without limitation, providing his/her respective Social Security Number for tax purposes) and a Liability/Publicity Release, as allowed by state law, by the return date specified in the prize notification letter. Additionally, the potential winner will receive an I.R.S. Form 1099 in the amount of the actual value of the Prize, as required by law for tax reporting purposes. If any required documents are not returned within the required number of days, or if mail is returned to Sponsor, or if the potential winner is ineligible or has other wise failed to comply with these Official Rules, then the potential winner will be disqualified and Sponsor will have the right to select an alternate winner or deem the Prize un-awarded.

5. RELEASE: All entrants agree to release the Sponsor & Others from any and all liability, claims or actions of any kind whatsoever for injuries, damages or losses of any kind to persons and property, including any accident, loss, injury or death resulting from entry into the Contest and/or occurring or in any way related to the Prizes. 

6. LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY. Entrant agrees that Sponsor & Others are not responsible or liable for and entrant hereby releases Sponsor & Others from any claims arising from: (1) incorrect or inaccurate transcription of entry information or late, lost, stolen, illegible, incomplete, misdirected, or entries received through impermissible or illegitimate channels, all of which will be disqualified; (2) technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunctioning of any telephone, computer, network, hardware or software; (3) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any service; (4) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Contest; (5) electronic or human error which may occur in the administration of the Contest or the processing of entries; or (6) any injury or damage to persons or property, including but not limited to entrant’s computer, which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Contest or from downloading any material from Sponsor’s Website(s), regardless of whether the material was prepared by any Sponsor, or a third party, and regardless of whether the material is connected to a Sponsor’s Website by a hypertext link. 

7. PRIVACY:  Sponsor’s use and collection of information provided by entrants (including information provided on the entry form) is subject to Sponsor’s privacy policy, a copy of which can be found at: Privacy Policy | Fresh Thyme (the “Privacy Policy“). By entering this Contest you consent to that collection and use in accordance with the Privacy Policy. If you do not agree to this Privacy Policy you should not enter.

8. GENERAL CONDITIONS: NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO WIN A PRIZE. Contest entries will be declared to be made by the authorized account holder of phone number or email submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to a mobile phone number by a telephone service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution etc.) that is responsible for assigning phone numbers and email addresses. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to prohibit the participation of an individual if fraud, use of robotic, automatic, programmed or like entry methods, or tampering is suspected; if the individual fails to comply with any provision in these Official Rules; or acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner.  

If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, including due to infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failure, human error or any other cause beyond the control of Sponsor that corrupts or affects the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of the Contest, Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, substitute prizes, amend these Official Rules, or discontinue the Contest at any time with or without notice; such changes will apply to all entries received prior to or after the change.  Entrants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor. INTERNET CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS CONTEST IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS, AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH INDIVIDUAL TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW.  Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.  Once submitted, entries become the exclusive property of the Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. The winners, in accepting their Prizes, consent to the use of their names, addresses (city, state), photographs, videos, and likenesses for purposes of advertising, trade and promoting in any and all media on behalf of the Sponsor, without further compensation, except where prohibited by law.

9. GOVERNING LAW & VENUE: The courts in DuPage County, Illinois will have sole jurisdiction of any controversies regarding the Contest and the laws of the state of Illinois shall govern without regard to choice of law provisions. Each entrant waives any and all objections to jurisdiction and hereby irrevocably submits to the venue of those courts within DuPage County, Illinois. 

10. WINNERS LIST: A winners list can be requested between 6/24/2024 and 7/26/2024 by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Fresh Thyme Market 2024 10th Birthday Cake Contest, Winners List Request, 2650 Warrenville Road, Suite 700 Downers Grove Illinois 60515  

11. SPONSOR: Lakes Venture LLC, dba Fresh Thyme Market, 2650 Warrenville Road, Suite 700, Downers Grove, IL 60515