For our first event of the 2019 calendar, Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network partnered with Fifty Gazelles for the first Innovation Breakfast event of the year. Innovation Breakfasts are now headed into their 3rd year of offerings, under the guidance and content cultivation of Fifty Gazelles' Jeremy Anderson. One of CFBN’s most popular series, Innovation Breakfasts examine “innovation” across all platforms and categories and offer attendees an insider’s look into the mindset, actions, and pursuits of companies who are innovating in product development, company culture, and more.
January’s event, held at the Fifty Gazelles/Blue Dog space in the West Loop, focused on three Chicagoland leaders who have been recognized for their “innovative” approach to company culture and team development. Katlin Smith of Simple Mills, Barb Pegesk of FONA International, and Michelle Hayward of Bluedog provided insight into why their companies have been recognized as some of the best in Chicagoland to work for, especially for women.
Katlin noted that her team strives to be both “internally collaborative and externally competitive”. She has worked to develop a team of people who can “move faster”, and have the “safety to be bold, to make mistakes, and to have the hard and honest conversations” with one another. At the end of the day, the culture and team she has built at Simple Mills understands that her goal is “growth, not perfection” which enables them to lead as they expand into new categories and channels.
At FONA, Barb noted, they are transitioning from a Founder-led company, and her team is working to capture all of the qualities that drove their growth and shaped their culture under that leadership. She believes that FONA has built a team of “people willing to lift the heavy end of the box” - partly by reminding leadership to “stop hogging decisions” so that everyone can be a part of the decision making processes that shape FONA and encourage ownership and engagement. FONA must be a a “non-elitist meritocracy” where the leadership and the full team understand that “innovation is not exclusive to any one part of the business.”
Michelle’s approach at Bluedog, is to emphasize that they are a team who values “boldness, curiosity and learning, and freedom.” Here culture building begins from the moment she interviews, by finding professionals and individuals who are looking for “growth, high accountability, high ambition” and understand and respect the “opportunity” to explore how they want to operate. This balance between autonomy and accountability, is at the core of her team’s approach to projects and drives innovation in all of their endeavors.
Thank you again to everyone who joined us for January’s Innovation Breakfast - we are looking forward to this year’s roster of events. So check our Events page for updated listings and announcements.
PepsiCo's outgoing CEO Indra Nooyi is making one last major acquisition before her retirement, effectively doubling-down on her strategy of moving the company away from sugary drinks — a major focus of her time overseeing the snack and beverage giant. In her 12 years as CEO, Nooyi touted the need to reposition the company into better-for-you products that reflect changing consumer trends away from sugary drinks and into healthier teas, waters and juices.
In recent years, PepsiCo has introduced drinks like LifeWTR bottled water; acquired probiotics beverage manufacturer KeVita, a maker of kombucha and vinegar tonics; introduced new versions of its iconic Gatorade brand including an organic variety; and most recently launched sparkling water brand bubly to challenge LaCroix. CNBC's Jim Cramer said PepsiCo was the only bidder for SodaStream.
Read the full article here
Beyond Meat, which reportedly hired investment bankers last month to help with an IPO, made it official in its filing with the SEC. The company is nearing a stock sale as consumer demand for plant-based versions of meat and dairy grows. Investors tend to like a company with a long runway for growth, making now a perfect time for Beyond Meat to explore the public markets, when demand for its stock would likely be high.
Beyond Meat noted in its SEC filing that it expects growth to continue as more outlets in the U.S. and abroad carry the product at stores or offer it on restaurant menus. The cash the company raises from an IPO could offer early investors like Tyson Foods, Bill Gates or former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson the chance to exit their investment and most likely profit, though none have publicly stated their intention. The funds also could give Beyond Meat more money to fuel its expansion plans. As of Sept. 29, Beyond Meat had $50 million in cash and cash equivalents.
Read the full article from FoodDive here.
Until recently, mainstream consumer perception of marijuana was largely framed by pop culture references and stigma surrounding drug use. But now that nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of the substance — and 12 more states are considering “going green” this year — this sentiment is evolving.
Rather than view marijuana as just a source of THC — the active ingredient that causes a psychoactive high — a growing number of shoppers are seeking out cannabis-based food products for CBD, a compound that’s been found to ease headaches, anxiety and joint pain.
Click here to read more from FoodDive.
A cup of coffee has long been an integral step in the American consumer’s daily routine, with java providing the jolt of energy needed to tackle increasingly hectic schedules. But in the past two decades, consumers have moved from viewing coffee as merely a pick-me-up to an indulgent, experience-driven occasion — a shift that has given Big Food new paths to growth.
Gourmet coffee now represents half of all consumption for the first time in history, according to research from the National Coffee Association, with trendy chains such as Peet's Coffee and Stumptown sparking product trends ranging from nitro cold brew to internationally sourced beans.
Read the full article from FoodDive here
How can we feed our future planet safely, nutritiously, and sustainably? Through innovation, creativity, and ingenuity. This is why the institute of Food Technologists (IFT) created the IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge™ Competition. IFT recently announced the launch of the second annual Food Disruption Challenge.
This exciting competition will offer six early stage start-ups the opportunity to participate in a high proﬁle pitching event, during a featured session at IFT19. This is an annual event hosted by IFT that brings the best of the science of food community together—including scientists, researchers, academics, ingredient, technology, and manufacturing companies—to share, network, and learn about the most recent advances in the science of food and food technology. Prestigious judges representing inﬂuential sectors of the food and related industries, will select a ﬁnalist to be the recipient of the IFTNEXT Future Food Disruptor of the Year award including a $25,000 cash prize.b IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge session attendees will also be asked to select an IFTNEXT Future Food Disruptor of the Year People’s Choice Award including $5,000 cash prize.
As part of IFT’s mission to encourage entrepreneurism and innovation, the IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM is a competition designed to help emerging and investment-ready food companies advance the science of food and recognize the innovations having a positive impact on our global food supply. Finalists will be chosen to share their innovations in a high-profile pitch competition at IFT19 in New Orleans, June 2-5, 2019 where they will compete to win the $25,000 competition grand prize. The audience will also select a finalist to receive the people’s choice award of $5,000.
Learn more about competition eligibility, requirements, and special application incentives by visiting the Participants webpage.
View more details on this event and apply HERE.
Our member the Kellogg Company has been mentioned as one of the Top 1,000 Companies with the strongest female leaders. See the full list here.
No one on their team knew much about the Ketogenic diet, let alone had any personal experience using it. So when these food science majors were assigned to develop a keto-friendly product, there was a lot of learning along the way. What they’ve developed is a product, Keto Kups – and a startup called Ketotizit! – that could have big business success thanks in part to a new collaboration with Gies College of Business and the Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
“I don’t exactly know how the cup came about, but it did. And it just worked,” said Keelin Frank, a senior food science major and Ketotizit! team leader.
Keto Kups are individual cups with creamy buffalo filling and a crispy, low-carb crust. Originally modeled after quiche cups, they started with spinach artichoke, and eventually settled on buffalo chicken flavor. Each Keto Kup is 320 calories, 28 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein and only four grams of carbohydrates.
Read more here.
It is estimated that over 80,000 Chicagoans are homeless and struggle to survive the brutal cold every winter. It is a tragic problem, but one we can all help to solve. To help those in need, Tiesta Tea gathers one night a year to spread our warmth through our beautiful city of Chicago - sharing tea, conversation, and kindness with those who feel Chicago’s cold shoulder the most.
Spread the Warmth is an event held by the Tiesta Tea Foundation every January to provide warmth and everyday necessities to our fellow Chicagoans in need. Each year, volunteers from across our community gather together to pass out hot tea and Warmth Kits, filled with food and warm clothing items to those in shelters, soup kitchens and on city streets.
Join us this year on January 17 at 4 p.m. at Galleria Marchetti to share a smile, share a cup and Spread the Warmth with your fellow Chicagoans!
Learn more about this event here.
Start-up food makers and challenger brands have shaken up the food industry thanks to their close relationship with rapidly emerging consumer demands. FoodNavigator spoke to five trailblazing brands to find out their top trend predictions for 2019.
Read more here
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