“I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want.” 90s pop music becomes gospel within the food and beverage innovation sector.
Meet Johnsonville’s VP of Innovation and Consumer Insights, Andria Long. In her tenure, Long has built two Chicagoland-based innovation centers and led innovation at a nimble family-owned company. She also has the savvy ability to turn cheesy 90s lyrics into catchy ways of improving consumer products.
Long kicked off our 2018 Innovation Breakfast Series on January 11 at Bluedog Design. And after her chat, we may call her the Casey Kasem of the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network for years to come.
Long says innovation comes from providing consumers what they want. Yes… What they really, really want. And doing so in a way that no one has done before.
Long easily identifies three focus areas that are key drivers of innovation success:
Think about mobilizing around innovation as a team sport. Everyone needs to approach the game the same way. (Like the Spice Girls...not as a solo artist)
Andria was asked by an audience member why she likes doing business in Chicagoland? She boasted:
Join us at our next events -- including our Wednesday, January 24 event, Industry Leadership Series: The Changing Landscape Of Successful Consumer Innovation: The Rise Of The Dark Horse. Register here.
Now that Congress has passed the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, you likely have questions about how it will affect you and your business. Plante Moran is here to help. Here’s what you need to know right now.
Podcast series: Year-end tax-planning opportunities
Businesses and individuals can take advantage of several tax-planning opportunities in the short window between now and the end of the year. These short podcasts arm you with everything you need to know to make changes now:
Well+Good, thank you for the shout out. Chicagoland may be cold, but we have some hot food ideas!
Read the entire article here.
This Food Navigator article highlights the Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network. It features Executive Director Alan Reed and the organization's role in supporting the start-up culture and institutional industrial change throughout the region. Read the entire article here.
In this episode of Food for thought: Data analytics in the food and beverage industry, Chris Moshier of Plante Moran and Steve Gaither, president of JB Chicago, discuss using in-store data to create timely, actionable insights and increase profitability.
Topics covered include:
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View the video here!
Martha Blum AgriNews Publications Nov 16, 2017
CHICAGO — Students will be the ones charting the course for the future of the agriculture and food industry.
“The food and beverage industry is changing rapidly, and answers probably won’t be found by the adults in this room. It will be the students,” said Alan Reed, Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network executive director.
“Food and beverage is a massive part of our economy, and it’s one of the things Chicago is best known for,” Reed said during the Sowing the Seeds: Chicago’s Leadership in Food and Agricultural Education event held at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences.
“Companies come here for the talent that’s here,” he said. “There are 4,500 companies and 130,000 people here just in food manufacturing, which results in a $32 billion gross domestic product.”
The Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network was launched about six months ago with the mission to bring together the food and beverage industry of the area.
“The network was started because the MacArthur Foundation was looking for an inclusive industry to invest to grow the economy,” Reed explained. “They found that not only Chicago food and beverage has great prospects because everyone has to eat, but also the jobs with food and beverage range all the way from entry level to white collar jobs.”
Panel members representing Chicago’s leadership in food and agriculture education provided the following comments during the event.
Read the entire article here.
The Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network is highlighted in this paper prepared for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, discussing inclusive economic growth and cluster organizations. The bottom line is that "new approaches to economic development must be and are emerging to fit the dynamics of the new economy and that inclusive growth must be an organizing principle informing successful transformative economies." One of the authors is CFBN Founder Robert Weissbourd.
Read the entire paper here.
Kellogg’s venture capital arm to invest ‘very broadly’ in food categories
13-Nov-2017 By Douglas Yu
Kellogg’s venture capital fund, eighteen94 Capital, is planning to invest in various food categories around sustainability and functional ingredients next year.
You can read the entire article here.
At our November 9 Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network Innovation Breakfast, 90+ industry attendees learned about this new tool: ‘corporate venturing’. Companies like Tyson Foods and The Kellogg Company started their own funds to explore innovation externally. This creates an opportunity for food and beverage start-ups to bring their innovation and work directly with large food and beverage companies.
Many in the audience wondered, why would these large companies invest in outside companies? The Tyson and Kellogg panelists told us that food disruption will continue and that sometimes larger corporations like theirs cannot see food trends as quickly as smaller companies. That’s why these funds were created.
“For example, it’s a fact that we need 60-70% more protein to feed the world by 2050. That’s why we just made a deal with Beyond Meat, an alternative animal protein,” says Tyson Ventures’ Justin Whitmore. Tyson launched its $150M venture fund in April 2017. “We will have more deals by this time next year, ones that fit our mission to grow our focus areas of sustainability, less food waste, and the internet of foods.”
And for both companies, it’s not just about the money they can bring to the table. “We want to know what Kellogg can bring to the party. Does the startup just need funding? Or are they seeking product experts, marketing, or procurement experts,” said Simon Burton from The Kellogg Company’s venture fund, Eighteen94. “We want to help these start-ups unleash all of their talent by using our talent.” Kellogg’s fund is 18-months old and is worth $100M, Simon adds, “For now it’s $100M. We may increase the amount. It’s all so new.”
Also on the panel, Michael Schopin. A partner at Zenfinity Capital, he works with food start ups. Being from Chicago he’s seen a lot of change in our region’s food & beverage landscape. “In Chicago we have a lot of early businesses that need seed money. And on the flip side we have a lot of huge companies. We have very few $10M-$50M food and beverage companies here.” Schopin adds, “My fund seeks out wise entrepreneurs with a good work ethic, specifically one that wants to grow their $10M company into a $50M company.”
The event’s hour-long discussion also touched on how research and development helps these teams find new ventures to invest in, as well as the power of networking early.
All three did agree that every startup needs to go with the best partner, not the most money. “What are you looking for in a partner? Is your new partner as excited as you are about your product? Having these internal conversations is key,” adds Whitmore.
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
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Chicago, IL 60603
Tel (312) 525-9653