Read the entire article on Crain's Chicago here
Chicago is quickly becoming a hotbed of investment for startups in the food industry, befitting the city's legacy of being the world's hog butcher and stacker of wheat.
Kraft Heinz recently hired a Lightbank veteran to run its new $100 million Evolv Ventures fund, joining Tyson Foods, which created a $150 million investment fund after it bought Sara Lee's Hillshire Brands. Mondelez International, which emerged from the Kraft breakup in 2012, is trying to hire a venture-capital director at its Deerfield headquarters. In the agriculture space, Archer Daniels Midland also has a corporate fund that launched two years ago.
Conagra Brands has teamed with Kellogg, meantime, to help finance a food business incubator, the Hatchery, that is scheduled to open on the West Side next month.
Evolv Ventures' Bill Pescatello notes that Kraft Heinz is the fifth-largest packaged-food and beverage company in the world. The venture fund, he says, "is about how can we be smarter, connect with startups and get a first look at emerging technologies. The distribution channels are being absolutely disrupted, with Amazon selling direct to consumers and doing delivery, along with Instacart. We'll be heavily involved in investing in those areas."
On Thursday, Oct. 11, we put a spin on our usual, monthly Innovation Breakfast, and co-hosted Innovation “Bar-fest” with our friends at Fifty Gazelles. We had a fantastic panel discussion with Jenny Solberg Katzman who grew Rhine Hall Distillery from a single product to a well-composed line of small-batch spirits, Jordan Tepper of Apologue Spirited Liqueurs built a Benefit Corporation and broke all the rules of traditional liqueurs. Brent Engel of Letherbee Gin and Distillers, who started with moonshine and now boasts nationwide (and international) distribution. Check out our event highlights below!
Left to right: Jeremy Anderson (Fifty Gazelles), Jenny Solberg (Rhinehall Distillery), Jordan Tepper (Apologue Spirited Liqueurs) and Brent Engel (Leatherbee Gin and Distillers).
Jordan Tepper and guests sampling Apologue Spirited Liqueurs
Our guests taking a minute to get to know their neighbor before the discussion begins.
Master mixologist showing her appreciation for the panelists and their spirits
Beautiful arrangements and set up at The Mitz Chicago (venue)
Projection display of our panelists and co-host.
Visit our gallery to view all of our event photos.
The functional beverage market is booming, and there are so many products available that consumers can pick and choose beverages that address their individual needs. Energy, immunity, digestive health and weight loss are some of the most sought-after benefits, but there is growing demand for beverages that improve cognitive health, beauty, relaxation, sleep, and athletic performance.
Content provided by Natural Products Insider & our member Imbibe
Read the full article from PR Newswire here
CINCINNATI and CHICAGO, Oct. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- In an industry first, The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) and Home Chef today announced the launch of weekly rotating in-store meal kits at Kroger Family of Stores in select locations. In addition, the company will roll out a limited market test of the new Home Chef Express product, a quick-cook meal kit ready to eat in about 15 minutes. Kroger and Home Chef are bringing even more variety and convenience to customers with the launch of these new in-store offerings, providing customers with an on-demand solution for tonight's dinner.
Read the full article from Food Processing here
Kraft Heinz has become the latest major food company to start a venture fund for systematic investment in new food technologies.
The industry giant recently announced the formation of Evolv Ventures, a unit with initial funding of $100 million that “will work with tomorrow's most innovative founders and companies,” said CEO Bernardo Hees. Evolv will be headed by Bill Pescatello, an investment-fund veteran who was a founding partner of a similar fund for NBCUniversal and GE Capital.
Kraft Heinz will use the money to invest in companies specializing in technologies that can be used for food processing and distribution, especially related to supply chain, e-commerce and direct-to-consumer marketing, Peescatello says.
John Bryan Jr., the former CEO and driving force behind Sara Lee Corp., passed away Oct. 1 at the age of 81.
Bryan built his family’s meat business into one of the food industry’s great powerhouses. He took over Bryan Foods, a specialty meat business based in his native northern Mississippi, in his early twenties, selling it in 1968 to Consolidated Foods. Bryan stayed on at Consolidated, eventually becoming its president and CEO, and changed its name to Sara Lee in 1985.
Under Bryan’s leadership, Sara Lee concentrated on building strong brands, venturing into apparel as well as food. He also was an early entrant into overseas markets.
By Kane County Chronicle
GENEVA – In response to increased demand for its taste solutions and to keep up with its industry-leading growth rate, FONA International will begin a significant expansion of operations at its headquarters in Geneva, the company announced in a news release.
Construction and expansion is already underway at the family-owned creator and manufacturer of taste solutions.
The work, led by Schramm Construction, will feature an expansion of proprietary taste technology, the addition of several high-capacity spray dryers, and the hiring of several new production personnel, the release stated.
Read the full article from Kane County Chronicle here
One of the biggest challenges of an industry entrepreneur is navigating the world of food investors, and appealing to the right one(s). During our lively panel discussionentitled, “What are food investors really looking for?”our panelists offered some great advice, from carefully assessing risk, to proper brand management.We were able to chat with a panel of food experts to help us better understand these ideas.
Our panel included Lenny Lebovich, founder and CEO ofPRE brands, Steve Gaither advisor ofSpiral Sun Ventures, Jason Starr, managing director ofCompany Firstand Michael Schopin, partner ofZenfinity Capital. Our panel moderator for the evening was Randy Bridgeman of our co-host, Perkins Coie.
Amazon is opening two more of its cashier-less convenience stores in Chicago — including one that opened Monday.
Amazon Go, which sells grab-and-go food items in a store designed to let busy shoppers skip the checkout line, opened its first Chicago location in the Loop last month. It was the Seattle company’s fourth Amazon Go store and the first outside its hometown.
A second Chicago location opened Monday at 144 S. Clark St. The 1,200-square-foot store will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays. A third Chicago store will open soon in a 1,700-square-foot space in 500 W. Madison St., which is connected to Ogilvie Transportation Center, said Dilip Kumar, vice president of technology for Amazon Go and Amazon Books.
Read the full article on Chicago Tribune here
In a week of major changes, Dunkin’ Donuts confirmed it’s dropping the ‘Donuts’ from its name, launches its first canned RTD beverage and announces a limited edition coffee beer in collaboration with Harpoon Brewery.
Read this full article on Beverage Daily here
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