Brands, retailers and incubators are looking beyond their core offerings and mission to foster innovation. From Chobani’s new food tech residency program to new playbooks at major retailers, here’s what you need to know in natural food news this week.
Why the Chobani Incubator is Interested in Food Tech
This week, the Chobani Incubator, which previously only open to food and beverage companies, announced that it will allow food tech startups to apply for a residency that will run parallel to the traditional incubator. Food technology companies considered will be working to solve challenges within the food and agriculture supply chain, from waste reduction to food safety, according to incubator director Jackie Miller.
The Food Tech Residency, which will accept up to three companies, will consist of tailored programming similar to the Incubator program — which includes visits to Chobani manufacturing facilities, offices and workshops — and a joint Demo Day for investors and mentors. The fall incubator will run from September to December 2018.
Food tech companies will not receive the same $25,000 equity-free grant as incubator CPG companies, but at the end of the program they will have an opportunity to pitch investors for funding, Miller told NOSH.
“We are obviously eager to support the next generation of like-minded brands, but we also know that there are challenges all along the food value chain – brands are only one part of the ecosystem,” Miller said. “As a food maker on the front lines of the supply chain, Chobani wants to give those with technical expertise access to our knowledge, network and resources to build better innovative solutions that can make an impact on food systems at scale.”
The addition of food tech companies will not change the size of the upcoming fourth brand class, Miller said. Chobani’s most recent incubator class consists of: 88 Acres, Fresh Bellies, Masienda, Noka, Nona Lim, Puffworks, Remedy Organics, TeaRIOT and Wildway.