Food startups win support from Chicago-based incubator

BY ANDREA GUY

Marketing specialist

While health and good bacteria may be the first thing most people think about when they hear Chobani Greek yogurt, the company is also a leader in giving Chobani Supports Chicago-based Food Start-Ups -- a helping hand to food start-ups that positively impact our health.

Chobani LLC, led by CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, has announced that its Chicago-based Incubator Program is supporting seven new startups with a $25,000 equity-free grant and mentoring. The Food Incubator is designed to help nurture, support and celebrate like-minded food start-ups that positively affect our world and have business models rooted in social good. The company’s vision is to help shape the food industry of tomorrow, to provide better food for all. 

The Chicago-based start-ups are: Chloe’s Fruit, Farmer Willie’s, Grainful, LoveTheWild, Pique Tea Crystals, Rumi Spice, and Snow Monkey.

This second group to be chosen for the incubator program features innovative products like plant-based ice cream, a low-sugar, low-calorie beer alternative, a healthier frozen fruit pop, and new ideas based on foods that have been around for years, including oats, saffron and seafood.

According to Ulukaya, “Chobani tasted hundreds of products and met with entrepreneurs across the country and the world. These companies have something special and unique, including the ability to make big changes in American supermarkets and give more people better options. I can’t wait to have these companies at Chobani to see how we can help them on their journey and welcome them to our family.”

The second Chobani Food Incubator class will run from September 2017 to December 2017, and be based at Chobani’s sales and marketing offices in New York City.

Included are Chloe’s Fruit, which is a combination of fruit, water, and organic cane sugar. This new start-up offers frozen Soft Serve Fruit and low-calorie Fruit Pops that are gluten free, vegan, non-GMO and dairy free.

·       Farmer Willie’s makes gluten, craft ginger beer with less sugar and calories than a glass of wine. In fact, the ginger beer won best in show at the New York International Beer Festival in 2017.

·       Grainful brings bold tasting foods at an affordable price with meal solutions centered around high-protein grains and clean ingredients.

·       LoveTheWild has come up with a three-step culinary experience that combines sustainable frozen fish paired with handcrafted sauce cubes and parchment paper.

·       Pique Tea Crystals is made from purely organic super-plants, free of sugar, additives, and preservatives as well as active ingredients not present in tea bags or bottled teas.

·       Rumi Spice works with Afghan farmers to import high-quality saffron and saffron products to restaurants and retail stores across the United States. The company was co-founded by Army veterans who served combat tours overseas, Rumi Spice has hired almost 400 Afghan women, has 90 farmers in its network, and three processing facilities.

·       Snow Monkey has a unique take on ice cream as a nutritious treat with all-natural, plant-based ingredients. Their Superfood Ice Treats are vegan, free from major allergens like dairy, gluten, soy and nuts, and is packed with 21 grams of protein per pint.

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