CHICAGO — The Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network hosted a hands-on, interactive “taste the trends” event on April 4 at the new Chicago location of Kitchen United. The Pasadena, Calif.-based company provides restaurant brands a turnkey, capital-light way to expand their reach to the off-premise diner. Produced in partnership with Datassential and the Research Chefs Association, the event gave participants an inside look to the trends driving culinary innovation and then had the opportunity to walk the kitchens, meet the chefs and sample the ideas that may propel eating and drinking in the coming year.
Healthy functional and plant based are the two arching trends in today’s food culture, said Jennifer Aranas, chef and senior account manager at Datassential. Three-fourths of operators currently offer products characterized as superfoods or functional foods on their menu. Menu-growth leaders in the past four years include kale, turmeric and grass-fed beef. And one of the hottest menu concepts is the poke bowl, showing 167% growth on menus in the past four years.
Read the full article here
The Jam TV Show featured TeaSquares superfood bites this morning and our mission to help aspiring people from underserved communities. Click here to check out the interview on YouTube.
CHICAGO — Protein’s momentum as a power nutrient in beverages continues in 2019, with new sources and formats making the satiety-inducing, refueling, muscle-building macronutrient more appealing and accessible in the mainstream marketplace. With many consumers heeding nutritional advice to increase their intake of plant-based foods, more and varied plant proteins are being added to all types of refrigerated and shelf-stable beverages.
Read the full article from Donna Berry and Edlong here
Simple Mills Founder and CEO Katlin Smith discusses the ingredients inside some of her company’s most popular food products and how she is able to compete against larger companies. Watch the full interview here
Tootsie Rolls, Frango mints, Fannie May, Wrigley gum and more. Chicago was once widely known as the nation's candy capital — and the list of confections with ties to the Chicago area is still impressively long.
Article by Chicago Tribune
Our members Bluedog Design and Cresco Labs made this list! Lots of perks, flexible remote-work policies, great benefits, comfortable workspaces: Which Chicago-area companies are the best to work for? Since 2008, Crain's has highlighted the local companies rated highest by their employees. In a wide-ranging questionnaire, we ask about everything from workplace comforts to benefits and culture. A record 4,522 employees participated in our survey this year. This project has proved so popular that last year we began expanding our list of honorees to the 100 top scorers from 25.
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network member Kraft Heinz’s Springboard -- a platform dedicated to nurturing, scaling and accelerating the growth of emergent brands within the food and beverage space – is preparing to launch it’s 3rd cohort.
The Springboard Incubator Program was created to accelerate local food and beverage start-ups with emergent, first-to-market products and brands into thriving companies. The Incubator Program offers a wealth of resources inclusive of dedicated learning, mentorship from Kraft Heinz leadership, infrastructure access (including state of the art pilot plants and culinary kitchens at the Kraft Heinz Innovation Center in Glenview, Illinois), and funding. Kraft Heinz wants to learn from start-ups who are solving consumer pain points in a world of fragmented needs.
The Springboard team is currently seeking applicants that fall within one of the following four consumer trend pillars: natural and organic; specialty and craft; health and performance; and experiential brands, are already in market or have at least a ready-to-order product and a hunger for growth.
Before applications for this new cohort close on Friday, June 14th, come meet White Space Platforms Head, Elizabeth Obbard, and the new Springboard Incubator Lead, Kelsey Courser at CFBN’s first Founders Series Event on Wednesday, May 15th.
Following that event, Springboard will also be hosting “Office Hours” on Wednesday, May 29th. Elizabeth, Kelsey - along with several members of the Springboard team and graduates of the 2nd Incubator class – will be on hand to share their learnings, answer questions on the program, and assist with the application process.
So Save These Dates for opportunities to learn about this incubator making a splash in the Chicagoland food scene (more information and registration is coming soon, please send us an email if you’d like to be added to the invite list)! In the meantime, learn more about The Springboard Incubator Program here from the first incubator class!
This month's Innovation Breakfast topic looked at "Retail Technology - The Future Explained." We were joined by Laura Heller - director of external communications at Performics. Laura was incredibly engaging, as she spoke to the audience about the evolution of retail marketing, and how it's done wonders for the buyer experience. She offered the notion that it's evolved into more of a "service" to companies, as it's enhanced the relationship with consumers.
Laura has been covering retail, consumer trends and technology for more than two decades. She most recently was the Editor of Retail Dive and FierceRetail, and has been reporting on mass-market retail trends and initiatives since 1995 as a reporter for B2B magazines, business outlets and websites including Forbes and The Week. She has appeared on national TV and radio programs discussing retail trends including CNBC, ABC News Now and National Public Radio. Her blog – “The Point of Purchase” – appears on Forbes.com. Laura continues to study consumer behavior and how shoppers interact with brands through technology, as Director, External Communications, at Performics.
Laura's been actively attending CES -- the Consumer Electronics Show -- for more than 20 years. She says, "CES is at the center of innovation in the US right now. It's the crossroads of software, hardware, people, and business. All the retailers are trying to figure out how to be more competitive."
Cultivian Sandbox, which backs agriculture- and food-tech companies, has raised a $135 million investment fund.
It’s the third fund for the Chicago-based firm. The second fund, $114 million, was raised in 2014. New investors include several Illinois companies, including ag co-op Growmark, ADM, Ecolab and Griffith Foods.
Previous investors include DuPont subsidiary Corteva AgroSciences and Elanco Animal Health, both based in Indianapolis.
The fund, launched in 2013, is focusing more on the food-tech industry. One investment from its new fund, Phylagen, a San Francisco-based startup, brings biology and Big Data together to track food and other products in supply chains back to their source by using their microbiome signatures.
Read the full article from Crain's here.
If you’re checking out our blog, you probably already know a bit about Imbibe. Here’s a little more on why we’re a competitive contender to win Food Processing Magazine’s R&D Team of the Year for 2019:
Under the expert tutelage of VP of R&D extraordinaire, Joe Farinella, our PD team works side-by-side with our flavor team on technically challenging formulations, enabling our clients to bring great tasting and innovative products to market. The team has really hit their stride in the past year, developing numerous plant-based dairy alternatives, protein waters, and nitrogenated cold brew coffees. Our business requires us to exercise discretion, but Milkadamia was so pleased with the result of their macadamia nut dairy alternative that their employees starred in a case study video that outlined Imbibe’s iterative process, challenges associated with building and flavoring plant-based beverages, and ultimate technical expertise that resulted in several SKUs of each of their product lines.
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