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Chobani’s New Incubator Class Includes Saffron And Seafood Startups

Chobani Incubator

Yogurt manufacturer Chobani has selected seven new food startups to join the second class of the Chobani Food Incubator. The group is comprised of companies that produce plant-based ice cream, a low-sugar, low-calorie beer alternative and a healthier frozen fruit pop, as well as some that have fresh and sustainable takes on foods that have been around for centuries, like oats, saffron and seafood.

“To select our second next class, we tasted hundreds of products and met with entrepreneurs across the country and the world,” said Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya. “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.”

Since launching last year in the U.S., the Chobani Food Incubator program has helped entrepreneurs break into the food industry. With more than 550 applications for seven spots—a 20 percent increase from last year—Chobani is seeking to partner with small food brands to provide them the resources they need to challenge big food companies.

For this year’s class, Chobani was searching for 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. The inspiration for these products comes from all corners of the world and they represent the history of their founders, from kitchens in Boulder to labs in Boston, from traditional Chinese practices to farms in Afghanistan.

The second Chobani Food Incubator class runs from September 2017 to December 2017 and is based out of a dedicated space designed for the Incubator at Chobani’s sales and marketing offices in New York, New York.

Startups that were selected include:

Chloe’s Fruit, New York

Chloe'sChloe’s Fruit combines fruit, water and a touch of organic cane sugar blended in a soft serve machine. Chloe’s offers Soft Serve Fruit from its flagship store in New York City, and its 60-calorie Fruit Pops—available in grocery stores nationwide—are dairy free, gluten free, fat-free, vegan, kosher pareve, Non-GMO Project Verified and free from all eight major allergens.




Farmer Willie’s, Boston

Farmer Willie's

Farmer Willie’s makes craft ginger beer that is gluten free and has 75 percent less sugar and fewer calories than a glass of wine. By fermenting cold pressed ginger, lemon and cane sugar with champagne yeast, the company has created a fresh, dry 4.5 percent alc/vol ginger beer that won best in show at the New York International Beer Festival this year.






Grainful, IthacaGrainful

New York-based Grainful is on a mission to bring globally-inspired, bold tasting foods to all consumers at an affordable price and in an honest way, with grains as the foundation. With an increasing awareness about the value of nutrient-dense real foods for both the individual and the planet, Grainful is leading the way with healthier-for-you meal solutions centered on high-protein grains and clean ingredients.






LoveTheWild, BoulderLoveTheWild

LoveTheWild is on a mission to change the way Americans view seafood. The company is disrupting the frozen seafood case with a three-step culinary experience: sustainable frozen fish paired with handcrafted sauce cubes and parchment paper.







Pique Tea Crystals, San FranciscoPique Jasmine

Pique Tea Crystals is the world’s first instant “plant fuel.” Made purely from organic super-plants, free of sugar, additives and preservatives, the company is helping consumers reap the benefits of tea by making it easier for them to consume sufficient quantities of active ingredients that are not present in tea bags or bottled teas.





Rumi SpiceRumi Spice, Chicago

Rumi Spice works directly with Afghan farmers to import the highest quality saffron and saffron products to restaurants and retail stores across the U.S. Co-founded by Army veterans who served combat tours in Afghanistan, Rumi has hired 384 Afghan women, opened three processing facilities and has more than 90 farmers in its network.




Snow Monkey, Santa Monica

Snow Monkey
Credit: Elia Wolberger, @feedyoursister

Snow Monkey has reinvented ice cream as a nutritious and delicious treat crafted from all-natural, plant-based ingredients, allowing Americans to enjoy their favorite dessert for breakfast, fuel or indulgence. Their Superfood Ice Treats are vegan, paleo, have 21g of protein per pint, and are free from all eight major allergens like dairy, gluten, soy and nuts.

About the author


An 11-year employee of The Shelby Report who writes for and about food. In previous lives, she worked at a police department in Texas and an amusement park in Arkansas. She also was a newspaper publisher for more than a decade. Not sure which of those qualified her for this job.

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