Frozens Chosen for Chobani’s Second Food Incubator Class
- LoveTheWild, Boulder, Colorado
LoveTheWild is on a mission to change the way Americans view seafood. The company aims to bring excitement to retail frozen seafood cases through its three-step culinary offering of sustainable frozen fish paired with bold handcrafted sauce cubes and parchment paper.
Founder Jacqueline Claudia is working hard to dispel negative images that some consumers harbor about frozen fish. “That’s one of our biggest challenges,” she said. “The seafood industry has been training people that you don’t go to the freezer aisle for premium fish where fish sticks don’t even say a species.”
Visit https://lovethewild.com for more information about the LoveTheWild line.
- Chloe's Fruit, New York, NY
Chloe's Fruit, co-founded by busy mom of three Chloe Epstein, is a combination of just fruit, water and a touch of organic cane sugar. That's it! Blended in a soft serve machine, it offers creamy, clean, tasty frozen soft serve fruit from the company’s flagship store in New York City, and 60-calorie Fruit Pops, available in grocery stores nationwide, that are dairy-free, gluten-free, fat-free, vegan, kosher pareve, Non-GMO Project Verified and free from all eight major allergens. Visit www.chloesfruit.com for more details.
- Grainful, Ithaca, New York
Grainful is taking the benefits of oats beyond breakfast to lunch and dinner with a line of frozen entrees and dry, shelf stable meal kits. Its nutrient-dense, high-protein frozen entrees and meal kits are made simply with clean ingredients that can be pronounced by consumers – and they're easy to make in just minutes. Visit www.grainful.com for more details.
- Snow Monkey, Santa Monica, California
Snow Monkey has reinvented ice cream as a nutritious and delicious treat crafted from all-natural, plant-based ingredients, allowing consumers to enjoy their favorite dessert for breakfast or on any occasion. Their Superfood Ice Treats are vegan, paleo, packed with 21g of protein per pint, and free from all eight major allergens like dairy, gluten, soy and nuts.
Visit https://snow-monkey.com for more information.
- Rumi Spice, Chicago, Illinois
Rumi Spice works directly with Afghan farmers to import the highest quality saffron and saffron products to restaurants and retail stores. Co-founded by US Army veterans who served combat tours in Afghanistan, Rumi has hired 384 Afghan women, started three processing facilities and has over 90 farmers in its network. Visit www.rumispice.com for more information.
- Farmer Willie's, Boston (MA)
Farmer Willie's makes craft ginger beer that is gluten free, has 75% less sugar and has fewer calories than a glass of wine. By fermenting cold pressed ginger, lemon and cane sugar with champagne yeast, it’s created a dry 4.5% alcohol by volume brew that won best in show at the 2017 New York International Beer Festival. Visit www.thefarmerwillies.com to tap into more information.
- Pique Tea Crystals, San Francisco, California
Pique Tea Crystals is promoted as 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 drink sufficient quantities of active ingredients that are not present in tea bags or bottled teas. Visit www.piquetea.com for additional details.
Startup frozen food companies fared exceptionally well in the Chobani Food Incubator program, taking four of seven slots in the second running of the competition. The group is comprised of savvy entrepreneurs bent on disrupting, innovating and inspiring new food categories in the USA – from products like plant-based ice cream and a healthier frozen fruit pop, to sustainable frozen seafood, steel-cut oats-based entrees and more.
"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 LLC, America's #1 Greek yogurt brand and the second largest overall yogurt manufacturer in the USA.
He continued: "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 United States, the Chobani Food Incubator program has helped entrepreneurs break into the food industry. With more than 550 applications for seven spots – a 20% increase from 2016 – Norwich, New York-headquartered Chobani is seeking to “partner with small food brands to provide them the resources they need to challenge big food companies, give more people access to natural, affordable food and create a new food frontier.”
For this year's class, Chobani was searching for purpose-driven entrepreneurs whose business models are rooted in “social good initiatives,” that 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 – representing the history of their founders – from kitchens in Boulder, Colorado, to labs in Boston, to farms in Afghanistan.
The second Chobani Food Incubator class will run from September to December, based out of a dedicated space designed at Chobani's sales and marketing offices in New York City. Participants will receive marketing advice, mentoring from Chobani’s executive team and external advisors, and a $25,000, no-strings attached capital grant to promote their company.
A closer look at the startups selected follows: