Chobani LLC, a Greek yogurt producer and the second largest overall yogurt manufacturer in the U.S., has announced the members of its spring 2018 class for the Chobani Incubator Program.
This is the third and largest Chobani Incubator class to date with nine food startups. It comprises companies that are “disrupting and improving high-potential food categories in the U.S.—from new and innovative snack products like simple, seed-based bars or peanut butter protein puffs to healthier energy drink and smoothie options to nutritional foods that can help kids learn to love vegetables.”
Included in the startups are three Northeast companies: 88 Acres of Allston, Massachusetts; Fresh Bellies of White Plains, New York; and Remedy Organics of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
Others are Masienda of Los Angeles; Noka of Pacific Palisades, California; Nona Lim of Oakland, California; Puffworks of Portland, Oregon; teaRIOT of Venice, California; and Wildway of San Antonio, Texas.
Chobani Incubator Director Jackie Miller said, “The past few years have proven the need, value and strong desire for a food incubator that is solely focused on supporting entrepreneurs who want to challenge the food industry, improve broken systems and bring better food to all people. Through this program, we’ve seen companies double their distribution, expand their teams and launch new products—and we’re just getting started. Hamdi, our founder, hand-picked this class—our largest yet—for their unique ability to transform traditional product categories in the U.S., and we couldn’t be more excited to get started with them.”
The Chobani Incubator program helps entrepreneurs break into food and beverage industries through equity-free investment and a strong focus on mentorship. The Incubator’s first class has seen a more than 250 percent increase in distribution and 2.6X growth in annual revenue. The program also had more than 650 applications for the nine spots in this year’s class, a 30 percent increase over last year.
For this class, Chobani selected purpose-driven entrepreneurs whose products are “reinventing” high-potential food and beverage categories. This class roster includes several brands striving to improve childhood nutrition. Additionally, given the rise of Millennials’ snacking habits, many are making it easier to eat nutritious food on the go. The entrepreneurs represent a broad swath of the country, with companies based in six states.
The third Chobani Incubator class will run April-July in a dedicated Incubator space at Chobani’s sales and marketing offices in New York City.
The following is an overview of the three Northeast companies:
88 Acres makes snacks and seed butters with simple ingredients. All of its products feature seeds as the primary ingredients and are free from the 11 most common food allergens, including gluten, nuts, dairy and soy. The New England-inspired snacks, made in the company’s dedicated bakery, are vegan and always free from preservatives, additives, palm oil and GMOs.
Fresh Bellies says its line of organic baby food is the first and only brand that does not mask vegetables with fruit, instead using herbs and spices to train babies’ palates. Each chef-formulated recipe teaches babies to eat varied flavors so they are less likely to become picky eaters later in life.
Remedy Organics is a health and wellness platform targeting health-conscious consumers who are searching for functional plant-based food and beverages. Products are made with superfoods, ayurvedic herbs and botanicals, as well as protein and probiotics. Its mission is to bring convenient, affordable, functional nutrition to the world in the form of plant-based food and beverages.