Chobani chooses seven start-ups for incubator program

by Rebekah Schouten
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NORWICH, N.Y. — Chobani, L.L.C., has selected seven new food start-ups to join the second class of the Chobani Food Incubator, a program launched to mentor and support entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry.

From September to December, participants will have access to Chobani’s plants, research and development and sales offices throughout the country, as well as a dedicated incubator space based in the Chobani SoHo office in New York City. Resources include a $25,000 grant to help grow the business, plus support from Chobani teams, top executives and experts. Programming will cover a range of pertinent topics, including brand and marketing, packaging and pricing, sales and retail strategy, innovation and manufacturing, food quality and safety, and more. The program culminates at a Demo Day in New York City in January 2018.

Chobani received more than 550 applications for seven spots in the program – a 20% increase from last year, when the company whittled down 400 applications to the final six that participated in the first class: Banza, Chops Snacks, Cissé Cocoa Co., Jar Goods, Kettle & Fire and Misfit Juicery.

 

This year, Chobani selected seven start-ups based on their business ideas and shared values. The chosen seven are “purpose-driven entrepreneurs whose business models are rooted in social good initiatives, who are passionate about making natural, creative food more accessible and are doing so in a sustainable way,” Chobani said.

Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani
Hamdi Ulukaya, c.e.o. of Chobani

“To select our second next class, we tasted hundreds of products and met with entrepreneurs across the country and the world,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, chief executive officer of Chobani. “These seven companies each have something special and unique. In selecting this class, we looked at what categories — and what teams of people — have the ability to make big changes in American supermarkets and give more people better options. I can’t wait to have these companies at Chobani to see how we can help them on their journey and welcome them to our family.”

The seven start-ups selected for the Chobani Food Incubator’s second class are:

Grainful, Chobani Food Incubator
 

  • Grainful, which makes Non-GMO Project verified frozen entrees and meal kits made with 100% whole grain steel cut oats. The Ithaca, N.Y.-based company is focused on offering high-protein grains and clean ingredients.

Snow Monley, Chobani Food Incubator
 

  • Snow Monkey, maker of ice cream crafted from natural, plant-based ingredients. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company offers Superfood Ice Treats that contain 12 grams of protein per pint and are vegan, paleo and free from all eight major allergens.

LoveTheWild, Chobani Food Incubator
 

  • LoveTheWild, a Boulder, Colo.-based seafood company that offers meals consisting of sustainable frozen fish paired with sauce cubes and parchment paper.

Rumi Spice, Chobani Food Incubator
 

  • Rumi Spice, a Chicago-based company that works directly with Afghan farmers to import saffron and saffron products to restaurants and retail stores across the United States.

Chloe's Fruit, Chobani Food Incubator
 

  • Chloe’s Fruit, maker of Non-GMO Project verified frozen soft serve fruit and fruit pops made with a combination of fruit, water and organic cane sugar. The New York-based company serves its soft serve fruit, blended in a soft serve machine, from its flagship store in New York City and also sells its 60-calorie Chloe’s Pops fruit pops at grocery stores nationwide.

Farmer Willie's, Chobani Food Incubator
 

  • Farmer Willie’s, a Boston-based company that makes craft ginger beer by fermenting cold pressed ginger, lemon and cane sugar with champagne yeast to create a 4.5% alc/vol ginger beer that is gluten-free and has 75% less sugar and fewer calories than a glass of wine.

Pique Tea Crystals, Chobani Food Incubator
 

  • Pique Tea Crystals, San Francisco-based creator of tea crystals made from organic plants that are cold brewed and cold crystallized then packed into single-serve packets. 
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