We’re kicking off Q2 with an overview of press from our recent FoodBytes! SF pitch competition, as well as a rundown of news across CPG, Food Tech, and Ag Tech. From in-depth profiles on startups like GEM and Hargol FoodTech, to seed round funding news from Augean Robotics, April’s roundup is full of fruitful news.
FoodBytes! San Francisco 2019
Read the full article from FoodBytes here
There’s an alarming dichotomy around food and waste in the US and statistics show the problem is escalating year-on-year.
In 2018, one in seven Americans – around 50 million people – used food banks to avoid going hungry. In the same 12-month period, almost 40 percent of food in the US was wasted, with 35 million tons of fresh produce and pre-packed foods going straight to landfill, 90 percent of which was thrown away while it was still perfectly safe to eat.
Food Tech innovators are working harder than ever to reduce food waste across the supply chain, targeting processes that are ripe for reinvention. From 2016 to 2019, the number of waste-related applications across Rabobank’s innovation platforms FoodBytes! and TERRA has tripled, from 8 to 22 percent of total applications. This year, we’ve been able to see which trends are gaining the most traction, from farm to fork.
Read the full article from FoodBytes here
FoodBytes! by Rabobank held its 15th edition in San Francisco yesterday, and 15 new innovators joined the alumni ranks, a community of 265 startups and counting Recognized for their positive impact on the food value chain, Bushel, Shaka Tea, and Toast Ale won awards for their efforts to increase agricultural efficiency, offer Hawaiian antioxidant beverages and fight food waste.
Three California-based startup giants have catapulted alternative protein into the public eye. From Memphis Meats’ lab-grown patties to the meat-like plant-based burgers from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, Silicon Valley is investing heavily into this area of food tech. It comes as no surprise then, that approximately half of our alumni working in alternative protein have pitched in San Francisco. Investment in the space is further encouraged by promising consumer data, as alternative protein sales are growing 8% year over year. At FoodBytes! SF we saw the alternative protein trend continuing to evolve. Hargol FoodTech developed a commercial grasshopper farm to produce sustainable protein on a large scale, with a greatly reduced dependence on land. Developing less resource-dependent methods of providing protein to consumers, Planetarians is utilizing the material left over after oil is extracted from sunflower seeds. These defatted seeds are 35% protein, higher than the concentration in beef, which the company then grinds into a flour. Additionally, Bond Pets extends sustainable protein practices to pet food. Through a fermentation process similar to craft brewing, Bond takes animal cells, feeds them a nutrient-rich mixture that promotes growth, and allows the cells to multiply into proteins resembling meat.
Read more from FoodBytes here
For the third year in a row, FONA International, family-owned creator and manufacturer of complete flavor solutions, was named a Best Workplace in Chicago by Fortune magazine and consulting firm Great Place to Work.
Fortune magazine and Great Place to Work evaluated 55 companies in Chicago in a wide variety of industries and sizes. Out of 25 small and medium sized companies, FONA was ranked eighth for Best Workplaces in Chicago as well as being the only company in the manufacturing and production industry within this category.
“We are honored that Fortune named us a top ten workplace in Chicago,” said FONA Human Resources Director Tonya Hubbartt. “This recognition signifies FONA’s commitment to the FONA family. We know that together we can do great things.”
Read the full article here
Introducing our member, The Kraft Heinz’s Springboard Incubator Program -- a platform dedicated to nurturing, scaling and accelerating the growth of emergent brands within the food and beverage space – is preparing to launch it’s 3rd cohort.
To be navigated to the application click here.
The Springboard Incubator Program was created to accelerate local food and beverage start-ups with emergent, first-to-market products and brands into thriving companies. The Incubator Program offers a wealth of resources inclusive of dedicated learning, mentorship from Kraft Heinz leadership, infrastructure access (including state of the art pilot plants and culinary kitchens at the Kraft Heinz Innovation Center in Glenview, Illinois), and funding. Kraft Heinz wants to learn from start-ups who are solving consumer pain points in a world of fragmented needs.
The Springboard team is currently seeking applicants that fall within one of the following four consumer trend pillars: natural and organic; specialty and craft; health and performance; and experiential brands, are already in market or have at least a ready-to-order product and a hunger for growth.
Before applications for this new cohort close on Friday, June 14th, come meet White Space Platforms Head, Elizabeth Obbard, and the new Springboard Incubator Lead, Kelsey Courser at CFBN’s first Founders Series Event on Wednesday, May 15th.
Following that event, Springboard will also be hosting “Office Hours” on Wednesday, May 29th. Elizabeth, Kelsey - along with several members of the Springboard team and graduates of the 2nd Incubator class – will be on hand to share their learnings, answer questions on the program, and assist with the application process.
So Save These Dates for opportunities to learn about this incubator making a splash in the Chicagoland food scene (more information and registration is coming soon, please send us an email if you’d like to be added to the invite list)! In the meantime, learn more about The Springboard Incubator Program here from the first incubator class!
FoodBoss, a Chicago-based food delivery search engine, has secured more than $2 million in funding led by former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson’s venture-capital firm, Cleveland Avenue.
FoodBoss aggregates food delivery services, including Uber Eats and Postmates, to help users find the cheapest and fastest delivery options. The service is available online and in an app.
The company will use this new round of funding to focus on several major metropolitan markets and expand its marketing, according to FoodBoss founder and CEO Michael DiBenedetto. FoodBoss currently serves about 50 markets.
Read the full article here
At the start of their loose leaf tea business in 2010, Tiesta Tea founders Dan Klein and Patrick Tannous said they knocked on an estimated 500 doors within 20 days to sell their product.
The pair, friends since preschool, aimed for their business to capture their experience drinking loose leaf tea in a Czech tea house during a European vacation while college students. Like many Americans, they were not familiar with tea outside of bottles (even bagged tea significantly lags behind ready-to-drink tea).
Pre® Brands, a leader in branded beef, is pleased to announce that Kevin Ponticelli, former Chief Operating Officer and President of Mizkan American Inc., has joined as Chief Executive Officer. He brings more than 30 years of diverse consumer packaged goods (CPG) experience across sales, marketing, and strategy.
Most recently, Ponticelli was the Chief Operating Officer and President of Mizkan American Inc., an operating subsidiary of Japan-based Mizkan Group, a leader in condiments and sauce distribution across the United States and Canada. Prior, Ponticelli was the Group Vice President and President of Kraft for their North American Cheese and Dairy Sector.
Geneva, IL, May 16, 2019 – For the first year, FONA International, family-owned creator and manufacturer of complete flavor solutions, has been named one of Inc’s Best Workplaces of 2019. The list is national, and FONA is one of only four manufacturing companies — and the only flavor company — to make the cut!
“It is an incredible honor to be named an Inc Best Workplace. To be recognized on the national stage is a testament to every member of the FONA Family,” said President Amy McDonald. “We strive to create a workplace where people feel respected and cared for. That’s why recognition like this means so much.”
Inc. is working to acknowledge the importance of a positive corporate culture. Employees from nearly 2,000 companies of all sizes and industries took part in a survey on topics including trust, management effectiveness, perks, and confidence in the future. See the full list here.
Part one of our Founders Series revolved around the subject of finance. The series took place at the beautiful Pre Brands office in the Wicker Park area. As our guests arrived, they were given the chance to sample innovative, Tumeric-infused beverages from Zyn. KitchFix also sampled their grain-free, paleo friendly granola. Our audience was riddled with new faces, which was exciting for us to see! We were joined by CEOs, entrepreneurs and founders in every stage of business development.
Our panelists were diligent in acknowledging the different stage start-ups in the audience. The conversation was referenced by a presentation, which evaluated the leveling stages of a Food & Beverage start-up. The ranges started from "Proof of Concept" to a "Sizeable/Maturing" company. Each panelist weighed in on topics that looked at how to acquire finances, build capital and scale your business.
The panelists ended the discussion by opening the floor for questions from the audience. The questions asked ranged from what investors look for in an emerging business and how a start-up can set themselves apart or create a unique niche for their businesses.
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
1 W Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603
Tel (312) 525-9653