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We have seen unimaginable transformations over the several weeks as a result of COVID-19. These changes have forced food and beverage companies to pivot, and to find innovative ways to support our communities and develop solutions to the many challenges that our industry is facing today. It is inspiring to see so many food and beverage companies exhibiting optimism and a new spirit of inventiveness to reinvent themselves and help local communities where they can. We are pleased to be able to highlight just a few examples...
Elise Tresley, CEO/Co-Founder of mēle stated “We decided this wasn’t a time to pull back, this was a time to step-up. Once we made sure our team was healthy and safe, we asked ourselves how we could help”. CFBN Member mēle formed a task-force to address problems they were seeing in the healthcare industry. The team at mēle was able to connect hospitals to companies in their network that were vetted COVID-19 suppliers, investigate alternatives to food service equipment shortages at hospitals, and donate their own mēle products to hospitals in various states. They launched SPONSOR A MĒLE, aimed at amplifying their donation efforts to frontline workers.
We have also seen start-ups collaborating as an innovative COVID-19 response. TeaSquares partnered with nine other Chicago companies to launch the Stay Home Stay Healthy Snack Box. This snack box features an assortment of better-for-you snacks produced by small food brands and 100% of the profits are then donated to Northwest Community Healthcare. As a valued CFBN Member, TeaSquares truly embodies our network’s mission of collaborating and supporting the community.
In the same fashion, we see companies like KeHE maintaining the network by transforming their 2020 KeHE Holiday Show into a digital marketplace. Typically, this trade show brings together thousands of industry professionals to connect and sample natural & organic, fresh and specialty products. KeHE pivoted this year’s Holidays of Hope virtual marketplace for retailers and suppliers to continue to negotiate and discuss promotional deals. “The platform also gives participating retailers the opportunity to discover product attributes, place orders, explore exclusive products, and access curated trend education webinars.” Furthermore, KeHE has waived the participation fees! KeHE is also encouraging suppliers to donate to KeHE Cares® where all donations will go towards supporting communities seriously impacted by COVID-19.
It makes the Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network truly proud to be a part of an industry of innovators and change agents. As we continue to navigate this "new normal," we encourage you to stay updated on what the food and beverage community is doing to help.
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