Chobani has launched a new incubator programme which will focus on food tech and ag-tech start-ups that are solving challenges along the food value chain.
The Food Tech Residency will consist of tailored programming similar to Chobani’s traditional incubator initiatives, including: visits to Chobani manufacturing facilities; workshops with leaders in supply chain, logistics, and manufacturing; connections to retailers and farmers; and a demo day for investors and mentors.
The scheme marks Chobani’s fourth incubator initiative; earlier this year it revealed its third-generation brands, which are said to be disrupting and improving high-potential food categories.
Launching the tech incubator, Chobani said: “In addition to helping emerging natural food and beverage start-ups grow, we want to solve challenges along the food and agriculture value chain: from waste reduction to food safety to supply chain traceability and more.
“We will bring tech entrepreneurs to the front lines of food manufacturing to enable them to tap into our operations, supply chain, logistics and quality assurance expertise to build innovative solutions to the industry’s biggest challenges.”
It added: “We live in a time when technology has the power to disrupt every part of our lives, from sensors to blockchain to virtual reality to artificial intelligence. We believe we can build better food tech solutions if we take into account the realities on the ground from the start.
“As a food maker at the front lines of the food supply chain, we want to open our doors to tech entrepreneurs, innovators and builders to test, iterate and improve these solutions for implementation at scale.”
Some of the areas it aims to focus on include: data systems for farmers, food safety issues, innovative packaging and ingredients, and energy-saving tools to lower carbon footprints.
Chobani said that start-ups involved in its first incubator class have since seen a 250% increase in distribution and 2.6-times growth in annual revenue.
Companies have increasingly used brand incubators in recent years to discover and nurture disruptive food and beverage start-ups.
So far this year, Grupo Bimbo and PepsiCo have launched the second editions of their incubators and earlier this month Kraft Heinz announced that brands of biltong and antioxidant lemonade joined its Springboard incubator.