Since its launch almost 3 years ago, the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network has been focused on bringing together the food & beverage industry of Chicagoland. With 115 corporate members, almost 40 events in 2019, and the support and engagement of the Chicago’s amazing F&B players, CFBN has been growing quickly and filling a need for connection and innovation in the fast-changing food & beverage industry.
However, the organization has also been committed to something more – economic growth, community engagement, and inclusion across Chicagoland. In order to best serve this social impact mission, a sister organization called The Bigger Table has been formed. I’m proud to be leading this new nonprofit as its first Chairman and I believe that together we can work more effectively to have a bigger impact on the community, and better engage our employees and the communities we all serve.
Take a look at www.biggertable.org to learn more. I hope you’ll be as inspired as I am about the programs we’re building. The Collaborative Hunger Initiative is a new way to address food insecurity that taps into the power of companies collaborating in ways we’ve never seen before. The GrowChicago Seed Fund seeks to fill a gap in the funding of local women and minority food & beverage entrepreneurs. Finally, the Food & Beverage Manufacturing Workforce Development Program seeks to build a training program to connect the under- and unemployed to job opportunities in food & beverage manufacturing in the region.
It won’t be easy. But, nothing worthwhile ever is. I hope you’ll consider joining us in building a better Chicagoland. Together.
Andy Dratt, Chief Commercial Officer, Imbibe & Chairman, The Bigger Table
Corporations, businesses, and start-up brands alike are learning that “better” approaches to corporate governance – those that go beyond a singular focus and incorporate social and environmental factors - are not only important for corporations, but for our communities and improves the public’s faith and confidence in their corporate leaders.
This new focus on corporate social responsibility increases corporations’ responsibility and accountability to their stakeholders through commitments to environmental, social, or community investment. As a result, we’re seeing corporations increasingly place pressure on themselves to improve their best practices for social governance with the goal of enhancing their relationships with stakeholders – and their consumers. Ultimately, these efforts will be worthwhile, as they increase the corporation’s credibility and provide them with a competitive edge.
Join us in March to explore social governance and the impact that our companies can have on the communities we work, live, and build in. Bank of America is excited to host the first event in CFBN’s Finance Series – Investing in Your Community. Thought leaders from the food and beverage industry will join us to explore how companies are forging these new paths between business and social investment, and how your company or brand can embrace these ideas too. Bank of America is a long-time support of the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network, and is excited to help lead this bold conversation on the importance of the partnership between our companies, our customers, and our communities.
Susan Birnberg, Senior Vice President - Bank of America, Merrill Lynch
"Keurig Dr Pepper is the latest big name beverage giant to bet on sparkling water to fill the void created by slowing soda sales.
Its acquisition of Limitless expands its water portfolio, which includes Core Hydration, Bai and Evian, as well as some sparkling water brands. Both Canada Dry and Schweppes make flavored seltzer and sparkling water, but neither have caffeine. Bringing in a caffeinated version could be a savvy move given that studies have shown consumers are drinking more caffeinated beverages nationwide, but the brand will face heavy competition as it scales up." Read more here.
KeHE is proud to announce KeHE elevate™, an emerging brands program to nurture leading-edge brands and maximize their growth and success potential in the marketplace.
As part of KeHE’s commitment to innovation and speed- to- market, KeHE elevate™ will support our retail partners by continually foraging for early-stage brands and curating a dynamic brand portfolio to augment their assortment. The program is not only built to fulfill consumer’s desire for innovation but will also enable developing brands to reach their full potential and better serve the demanding marketplace. Read more here.
Qualified Illinois small businesses are invited to join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Trade & Investment to exhibit in the Illinois Pavilion at the SIAL Canada 2020 trade show in Montreal, Canada from April 15 – 17, 2020.
SIAL Canada is Canada’s largest trade show for the retail and foodservice trade. In 2018, the show had over 1,000 exhibitors from 50 different countries, and there were more than 18,000 visitors from more than 60 countries.
Canada is the ideal market to target U.S. food exports with its close proximity, common language and similar culture. Covering every aspect of the Canadian food & beverage industry, SIAL Canada provides the perfect platform for Illinois exporters servicing institutional food services, restaurants, or grocery.
On-the-Job Training (OJT) is a “hire-first” program. Employer agrees to hire, train, and retain the individual upon successful completion of the training program.
OJT provides employers with a way to have new employees gain specific skills and employment competencies through supervised experience. Workers learn the processes, work tasks, tools and methods of a specific job or group of jobs in an actual work setting.
This is an exciting time in the food & beverage industry, and we are seeing entrepreneurs launch new companies with new ideas that will change the industry for years to come. It is especially exciting to see so many start-ups come out of the greater Chicago area. We have an eco-system here that rivals anywhere else in the world with great incubators and accelerators in town that are creating change and helping give birth to these incredible start-ups.
As CFBN looked at our eco-system, we saw a gap in terms of funding early stage companies after they leave incubators and accelerators. We saw significant challenges with access to capital for many entrepreneurs, especially woman and minority business owners. As a part of our mission to help support a growing and innovative food & beverage industry, and to build a more inclusive eco-system, CFBN is extremely proud to be partnering with Dobson Avenue Partners and CA Fortune to launch the GrowChicago Fund.
The Grow Chicago Fund is an impact investment seed fund dedicated to driving return for investors through capital, consciousness, and community by focusing on Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), sustainable processes, and underserved communities throughout Chicagoland. In short, the goal is to help accelerate the growth of up-and-coming companies and reshape the future of food and beverage.
The Grow Chicago Fund will focus on finding, investing in, and mentoring woman and minority-owned food & beverage businesses, post-incubator, to provide economic opportunity to diverse entrepreneurs and teams. The fund will invest at the Seed and Series A stages in companies with at least $100K in revenue. CFBN is pleased to be a partner in this important effort, and looks forward to connecting our robust eco-system with these inspiring and breakthrough businesses. For more information about investing in the fund, or about how the GrowChicago Fund could invest in your business, please contact email@example.com
The Intel Distillery Annual Report Preview
International trade, climate change, meatless diets, human health and food safety are among the topics that top The Intel Distillery’s annual summary of food production.Trade deals with China, Mexico and Canada, severe weather impacting planting and harvest on farms, a major influx of plant-based meat substitute offerings, corporate social responsibility commitments by food manufacturers, influential health studies, and increased attention to federal food safety regulations all helped to define 2019.
The “Top Ten Topics” report, due to hit inboxes on January 28, ranks and analyzes the conversations by and about the top 1,500 most influential voices throughout food, beverage and agriculture. The aim to offer a wide perspective of the issues that matter which impact decisions at all levels of U.S. food production.
The Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network offered almost 40 events in the 2019 calendar, in addition to numerous offerings for discounts and admission to events offered by our industry partners and members! In 2020, we have focused our offerings to approximately 30 events designed to address "of the minute" topics that are important to our industry. Make sure to mark your calendar starting January 16th, 2020 so you can be a part of the conversation. Access the events here.
Divestiture activity has increased across industries, with many companies increasing their focus on repositioning their portfolios. Much of the divestiture activity in consumer and retail is coming from food & beverage companies. Facing significant headwinds, including emerging brands that are gaining shelf space, legacy consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) realize that they need to streamline and focus on their core competencies, hence the rise in divestiture activity in the food and beverage industry over the last four years. Millennials, who will soon overtake baby boomers as the generation with the most discretionary spending power in the United States, are less brand-loyal and more focused on value than older generations. Click here to access the report.
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
1 W Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603
Tel (312) 525-9653