Six food start-ups from across the country were selected as the inaugural class of the Chobani Food Incubator program, the company announced Tuesday.
Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of the popular Greek yogurt manufacturer, launched the program earlier this year to mentor and support food entrepreneurs. Searching to invest in and cultivate like-minded emerging entrepreneurs, the company designed the program to help individuals and small food companies with big ideas “follow the path to challenge the food industry, improve broken systems and make a difference.”
For its first class, the company says it received more than 400 applications.
“We’ve learned a lot in the past nine years about what it takes to shake things up and give people better options,” Ulukaya says. “Our incubator is all about sharing what we’ve learned and the first six start-ups are very passionate, innovative and really want to help fuel the food revolution. I don't think there’s ever been a better time for food start-ups to make a difference in this country, and I can’t wait to start our new journey together.”
Each of the participants were chosen based on their business ideas, shared values and commitment to provide better food for more people. The inaugural class of the Chobani Food Incubator will run from October 2016 to March 2017, based out of a dedicated space designed for the incubator at the Chobani SoHo office in New York City. The companies will also have access to Chobani’s plants, R&D, sales offices throughout the country and a $25,000 grant. At the end of the program, each company will be provided the opportunity to present to food distributors and retailers.
The start-ups selected for the Chobani Food Incubator Class of 2017 include:
Banza: Pasta and food manufacturer focused on providing products that are affordable, convenient, and easy to prepare.
CHOPS Snacks: Jerky snack producer that uses all-natural premium beef brisket and 100 percent natural spices.
Cissé Cocoa Co.: A USDA approved and Fair Trade organic chocolate company.
JAR Goods: Creators of simply, specialty foods served in jars.
Kettle & Fire: America’s first and only USDA grass-fed bone broth made with fresh, organic ingredients.
Misfit Juicery: Cold-pressed juice manufacturer made from 70-80 percent recovered fruits and veggies that would otherwise go to waste.