Making good on its promise to challenge the food industry and build a community to improve and innovate current systems, Chobani, LLC has announced the six start-ups it has chosen to make up the inaugural class of its Chobani Food Incubator.
"We've learned a lot in the past nine years about what it takes to shake things up and give people better options," said Founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya. "Our incubator is all about sharing what we've learned and the first six start-ups are very passionate, innovative, and really want to help fuel the food revolution. I don't think there's ever been a better time for food start-ups to make a difference in this country, and I can't wait to start our new journey together."
The program was created by Ulukaya to make a difference in the industry, according to a press release, by launching food entrepeneurs into challenging their segments and the industry at large. More than 400 applications were received for the valued six spots.
Each of the resulting six start-ups were chosen based on their ideas, shared values, and commitments with Chobani in regards to providing better food for more people.
The inaugural class will run from October 2016 to March 2017 out of Chobani’s SoHo office in New York City. The following six start-ups are slated for the program:
Creator of pasta and other foods that are affordable, convenient, and easy to prepare. The company was started in 2013 out of a Detroit kitchen, requiring lots of late-night and early-morning work from founder Brian Rudolph. The brand embodies that eating right doesn’t mean lots of time, money, or expertise.
Using all-natural premium beef brisket and 100 percent natural spices for a range of jerky. Dusty Jaquins gained inspiration for the venture after being disappointed from purchased jerky which was tough and flavorless.
Cissé Cocoa Co.
These USDA approved and Fair Trade organic chocolate creators combined a love affair of chocolate with a need for peace-of-mind. Founder Diana Lovett has a created a company to use only ethical coca while still supporting small-scale farmers in the Dominican Republic.
Offering delicious and simple specialty foods in jars, Melissa and Laura Vitelli started their business with a vision to put healthy food on family tables in less time.
Kettle & Fire
Justin and Nick Mares are helping people improve their health by offering only USDA grass-fed bone broth made with fresh, organic ingredients.
Combining consumer demand for nutritious cold-pressed juices and reducing food waste by filling this nutritious treat with 70-80 percent of fruits and veggies which would’ve otherwise been scrapped by fresh cut companies in the industry.
As we previously reported, the incubator comes with a $25,000 grant and a 6 month opportunity to use Chobani as an office and mentorship pad. The program includes on-site and online interaction with Chobani team members, monthly programs in facilities and offices, and a final culmination at EXPO West Natural Food Conference in Anaheim, CA, to showcase final products.
When Chobani first began selling its yogurt cups, the company stated that Greek yogurt sales were at 0.8 percent of the total spoonable yogurt category. Today, Chobani represents more than 50 percent in the category.