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  • 17 Jun 2020 9:11 AM | Deleted user

    COVID-19 is pushing Chicago food producers to find much higher-quality, cleaner spaces than ever before. Right on time, Amped Kitchens—a pioneer in top-grade, wholesale-quality kitchen complexes—is unveiling 64 new production spaces for lease on the Northwest side of Chicago. Wholesale packaged goods producers, restaurant commissaries, meal delivery companies and other developing segments can now find dedicated, flexible, high-capacity spaces that provide the quality and amenities of much large spaces.

    Amped’s latest location represents a nearly-$30 million investment, converting a former Zenith factory into a bustling food production complex. The approximately 110,000 square foot building will support an estimated 250 jobs. Brian Albert, co-founder and COO of Amped Kitchens, says building community and providing jobs is core to the Amped Kitchen’s business model. Amped Kitchens operates two facilities of similar scale and size in Los Angeles, and Chicago marks the first location outside of California. It “reflects our optimism around Chicago as one of the country’s great food cities and a home for some of the most creative chefs and innovative food makers.”

    The new facility is located just minutes from major centers, including Logan Square and Oak Park. “Think of it as an apartment building for commercial food producers,” says Mott Smith, Amped Kitchen’s CEO and co-founder. “We provide the infrastructure, facilities and expertise needed by producers so they can focus on the business of producing, marketing and delivering their product safely and efficiently. Tenants will be surrounded by some of the best food producers in the country, and our team of professionals will be on the ground day one to help support their needs.”

    Features include:

    • 64 Pre-Approved, State-of-the-Art Food Production Spaces
    • Health & Safety Support
    • Expedited Permit Processing with Public Health Agencies
    • Multiple Attended Loading Docks, Staffed Warehouse and Logistics Support
    • USDA Office Onsite
    • Ready for Gluten-Free, Kosher, Organic and other Third-Party Certifications
    • Excellent Access to Expressways and Trucking Lines
    • On-Site Parking
    • Office Space & Conference Rooms

    To learn more about Amped Kitchens or to set up a tour (or video walk-through) please reach out to

  • 16 Jun 2020 9:18 AM | Deleted user

    “It was only when the disruption came in and said, no you can’t do it your normal way, you have to find a new one, people decided wow, the new way is best. How many everyday things do we do, that if we were forced to do it differently, we would never go back.” – Tom Harford 2016 TED Talk

    Keren Novak, VP of Client Services in the Midwest, opened Curion’s first Consumer Pulse webinar with a quote from the 2016 London Underground Strike. The 48-hour underground closure forced millions of London commuters to deviate from their normal routes, but after the strike ended, many realized how enjoyable they were and continued using their newly found alternative routes. The radical effect of COVID-19 on the lifestyles of consumers will change future behavior. Through the Consumer Pulse Series, Curion strives to keep a finger on consumers’ ever-evolving decision-making processes.

    With the commitment to deliver a deeper understanding of the consumer to bring successful products to market, Curion launched a nationwide pulse survey on how this pandemic has affected consumers purchasing behaviors. Curion presented their result findings in a series of streamed webinars. The first Consumer Pulse webinar streamed April 22, outlining the results of consumers during the first 30 days of quarantine. On May 20, a second Consumer Pulse webinar presented findings after 60-days quarantine. The data generated by the 30-day and 60-day checkpoints are the beginning of Curion’s journey to document and understand consumers’ post-COVID behavior. Of those 800 consumers surveyed by Curion, 93% shared that they would be willing to come into Curion’s facilities to participate in testing in the following month of June. Though much more is to come, the following insights from the 30 and 60-day studies illuminate some of the changes and shifts we’ve all felt forming around us.

    Consumer’s emotional state and priorities shift from survival to entertainment

    Consumer behavior in the first thirty days of quarantine revolved around enforcing feelings of safety and stability increasing activities such as cleaning, consumers reported in the 60-day study they were spending more time exploring how to use their free time and we looked for correlations.

    In the 30-day survey, consumers reported a

    • 65% increase in time cleaning,
    • 49% increase in dinner time,
    • 39% less time on personal care,
    • 33% more time on evening activities.

    While we expected many of these to remain similar, the theory that habits take two months was highlighted in the differences we saw from our 60-day study where consumers show signs of embracing their extra time.

    Of the 70% of consumers reporting having extra free time, consumers reported

    • 53% are spending more time on self-care,
    • 64% are investing more effort into domestic experimentation,
    • 69% are socializing on video call applications, and
    • 80% are spending their time on entertainment.

    While purchasing is on the rise; but shifting from the safety ‘need-to-haves’, toward the daily routine ‘nice-to-haves’, is seen in the data collected. In both studies, sales of grocery, household, and cleaning products increased while personal care sales decreased. While this aligns with our 30 day study where 39% of consumers stated they are spending less time on personal care, there is a change in the 60 day study that showed 53% of consumers spending more time on personal care.

    The types of foods consumers purchased varied between studies. In the 30-day study, consumers reported placing priority on canned goods (+37%), fresh vegetables (+35%), beverages, and fresh fruit (+34%), while sales of snack foods decreased by 45%. Consumers reported their purchasing decisions were driven by the desire to feel safe and protected (50%), comforted (35%), and replenished (31%) and avoided products that made them feel indulged (33%) and pampered (40%). A month later, we see these priorities shift to align with the increase in consumer interest in leisurely activities and entertainment. While fresh veggies and fruit remain top purchases in the 60-day study, snack purchases increase by 52% and alcohol sales by 41%. The motivation behind consumers’ decision making also shifts -- purchases made to feel safe and protected decreases from 50% to 34% and consumers begin to make more purchases for enjoyment (31% increase), indulgence (+26%), and feeling pampered (+24%).

    Consumers are placing more importance on price

    Unsurprisingly, considering the level of perceived danger is lower yet 1 in 3 people are still unemployed, product cost has become a pivotal factor in consumer decision making. In the 30-day study, product availability and supply created limitations causing consumers to place less of a priority on price. Consumers were split on how important price was to their buying decision. In the 60-day study, however, price becomes a core decision-maker. 52% of consumers indicate the price is more important, and only 12% report it’s less important.

    Consumers mostly at the grocery store and it’s not a pleasant experience

    45% of consumers responded to the 30-day study that they have decreased their shopping at all retail stores. These numbers are much higher for the older generation, however, with a 57% decrease for consumers 35-65+ shopping in mass merchandisers, a decrease of 54% of shopping in convenience stores, and a decrease of 51% in big-box retailers. In the 60-day survey, 65% of consumers indicated they do not look forward to going to the grocery store. 84% of consumers reported that they are not finding their usual products or brands. One consumer states, “Going shopping now is all about speed and limiting contact. I buy more now in one trip. The biggest surprise would be the whole experience and how negative it is.”

    Consumers continue to discover and adapt -- but generation does play a part in how much they embrace change

    In the 30-day study, 74% of consumers are trying new products, 45% are paying more attention to the products and brands they are buying, and 52% report they will continue to use these products after this period of time is over. The 60-day consumer study displays an increase in the percentage of consumers paying attention to the brands they are purchasing (52% from %45) and in the number of consumers who say they will continue to use the products (57% from 52%). While Gen Z and millennials are willingly trying new products, the 60-day study demonstrates boomers typically do so out of necessity rather than pleasure. 48% of Gen Z and millennials consumers reported they would try a new product just to try something new, while only 27% of boomers agree. Similarly, 39% of Gen Z and millennials consumers reported they would change products simply out of boredom, while 16% of boomers answered they would do the same.

    What newly found alternatives will stick? Curion will continue to monitor and track consumers’ shifts in behavior during this tumultuous time to provide the most up-to-date and relevant insights. As this study suggests, consumer decision-making factors shift rapidly, especially throughout times of extreme change. Curion looks forward to walking through this time beside our partners and clients and help deliver products consumers want and need.

  • 3 Jun 2020 1:58 PM | Deleted user

    The School of Hospitality Leadership is now ready to launch their fully-online MBA Program in Hospitality Leadership (

    Benefits of this new program include:

    • 25% tuition discount for students with at least 3 years of industry experience
    • No GMAT requirement to ensure a streamlined application process
    • All courses online, which provides greater flexibility for those working in the hospitality and tourism industry and/or not based in Chicago
    • One-on-one mentoring with industry leaders
    • Access to exclusive virtual discussions with industry leaders
    • Scholarship opportunities through the School of Hospitality Leadership

    Over the next month, DePaul will be holding a number of virtual information sessions to promote the program for our first cohort in Fall 2020. Please contact Kat Fraser ( in the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business for any questions.

  • 3 Jun 2020 1:49 PM | Deleted user

    Come meet, interact and network online with more than 1,300 VCs, Corporate VCs, angel investors, industry execs and founders of venture backed, emerging and early stage companies at the prestigious Venture Summit Virtual Connect | Global being held virtually on August 4th – 6th 2020.

    Whether you’re a startup seeking capital and exposure, or an investor seeking new deals, Venture Summit Virtual Connect | Global presented by youngStartup Ventures - is the event of the year you won't want to miss.

    A highly productive venture conference, Venture Summit Virtual Connect | Global is dedicated to showcasing VCs, Corporate VCs and angel investors committed to funding venture backed, emerging and early stage Foodtech companies.

    ChicagoLand Food & Beverage Network has made special arrangement for our network to receive a special discount of 20% off the existing “early bird" savings. This conference will be attended by the best people in the industry. Please register early to avoid disappointment.Special Offer:

    ChicagoLand Food & Beverage Network has made special arrangement for our network to receive a special discount of 20% off the existing “early bird" savings. This conference will be attended by the best people in the industry. Please register early to avoid disappointment.

    Register Today & Save Click here. (Use promo code "CHICAGOLANDVIP”)

    In addition to providing access to leading Investors, the conference will feature more than 100 pre-screened venture backed, emerging and early stage companies seeking capital, and hardcore networking.

  • 2 Jun 2020 7:38 AM | Deleted user

    "Miriam Ueberall recently joined The Kraft Heinz Company to head up research and development for the group’s international zone. FoodNavigator speaks to her about how innovation and product development is at the heart of Kraft Heinz’s turnaround plans."

    Read more here. 

    Miriam Ueberall, Kraft Heinz's new head of R&D for the international zone, says innovation will be key to improving performance

  • 2 Jun 2020 7:34 AM | Deleted user

    "Marfrig and ADM today announced an agreement to create PlantPlus Foods, a joint venture for the sale of plant-based food products across South American and North American markets.

    Marfrig, one of the world’s leading beef producers and the world’s largest beef patty producer, and ADM, a leading global nutrition company, already have a successful history working together to develop and produce sustainable, plant-based foods in South America. Now, PlantPlus Foods will expand on that successful relationship."

    Read more here

  • 2 Jun 2020 7:22 AM | Deleted user

    As a food manufacturer, McCain is driven by good people, making good food, from good ingredients – and the result is food that makes people feel good. But it’s not just about the food that they make, it’s about how they conduct theirselves in every aspect of their business. From farmer and customer relationships to sustainable agricultural processes – they strive to make every element of their business good. This philosophy underpins everything they do.

    Check out this deck to learn about how McCain is supporting the community - globally - with food donations. 

  • 1 Jun 2020 1:14 PM | Deleted user

    It has been an intense week in Chicagoland and around the country. This is a critical juncture for all of us to do what is right and embrace our common humanity. The protests this weekend remind us that:

    • We must hear, respect, and act on the pleas of protesters for the justice of George Floyd and so many others. 

    • We must do more than acknowledge that racism exists, we must actively pursue and advocate for a more equitable and just society. 

    • We must all hold ourselves and those around us accountable for a higher standard of daily behavior and overall justice. 

    • We need to fight against the division, racism and bigotry that continues in this country.

    • We must remember #GeorgeFloyd and make this the point at which we decided that this injustice must STOP!

    • As an industry, it’s easier to shrug and wait for others to act. It’s easier to focus on your business, and do nothing. But Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network was founded three years ago based on creating a network to drive inclusion and economic growth in our region and in our communities. And we will double down on doing just that. 

    • With all that 2020 has brought us in terms of challenges, NOW IS THE TIME for you and your companies to be engaged and to make a difference 

    Now is the time to do something that supports communities across Chicagoland, makes the world better, and helps ensure justice.

    - Alan Reed

  • 26 May 2020 12:53 PM | Deleted user

    In case you missed it!

    On May 18th, 2020, the CFBN in partnership with Bader Rutter’s Intel Distillery hosted our weekly open discussion "Bader Rutter Monday's @ 11" on the top news stories and breaking headlines impacting food production.

    We got to hear insights from Bader Rutter staff that have tracked the top stories from the most influential voices in the business. From farm fields to consumer plates, the Chicago-based team has diligently categorized and catalogued everything important in food, beverage and agriculture to outline a clear picture of what's happening and who's driving the conversations on our industry.

    This week in industry news, Bader Rutter highlighted:

    • Worker issues
    • The rising costs in meat industry and more
    • Possible Grubhub + Uber merger

    Access the full episode here!

    The Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network would love to thank the Bader Rutter team for sharing their insights:

    Thank you to everyone who virtually attended. Stay updated on our upcoming virtual events here.

    Members can access the presentations shared in your Member Perks

    The “Bader Rutter Monday’s @ 11” is a new, FREE, weekly virtual event series brought to you by CFBN. 

  • 19 May 2020 8:01 AM | Deleted user

    From retailer to processor to farmer and everyone in between– each member of the dairy supply chain brings a valuable perspective fueled by a common passion for bringing dairy to life for today’s consumer. We hope you’ll be part of the conversation at the virtual Dairy Experience Forum on July 15, 2020. Registration details are below.

    Convening the Entire Dairy Supply Chain Virtually

    The third annual 2020 Dairy Experience Forum is going virtual, allowing American Dairy Association of the Midwest to bring the latest insights into what is driving consumer demand to the dairy supply chain while you remain safe at home and continue serving your customers. You are invited to this event which is sponsored by Midwest Dairy.

    With the rapidly changing food and beverage climate, remaining at the forefront of what is driving dairy demand has never been more important. The Dairy Experience Forum convenes members across the dairy supply chain from retailers, to processors and dairy farmers to share actionable consumer insights, future forecasting and industry thought leadership. How has the pandemic impacted food and beverage trends? What is next for dairy? The Dairy Experience Forum brings these insights directly to you!

    The virtual conference will be held on Wednesday, July 15 from 10 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. The $50 registration fee includes:

    • A consumer panel providing real-time insight into shopper attitudes, beliefs and behaviors
    • Virtual breakout rooms to network with others across dairy supply chain
    • An IRI speaker shedding light into the post COVID-19 dairy category
    • A panel of industry leaders discussing sustainability
    • A food futurist discussing “what’s next” for food and beverage
    • A motivational speaker sharing the secret to navigating change

    To view the full agenda and to register, visit

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