Chobani food incubator supports food entrepreneurs

Chobani food incubator supports food entrepreneurs

Chobani, the New York-based yogurt producer, is making plenty of news lately. It’s lauded brand recently named Wieden+Kennedy as its agency of record, after over a year of doing its marketing in house. And its growth has it just about ready to take over the number two spot in the market, knocking General Mills’ Yoplait to number three.

Now, Chobani LLC, continuing its push to promote “Delicious, Nutritious, Natural and Accessible (DNNA)” food, is backing efforts by food entrepreneurs who share the same values with its Chobani Food Incubator.

The companies chosen for the Incubator will receive “support, guidance and resources needed to provide better food to all,” according to the Food Incubator website.

“We want to extend our mission beyond our own products and into the communities we live in by helping socially responsible food entrepreneurs make their products available to all. We believe that together, we can challenge the food industry, improve broken systems and make a difference,” said a statement on the website.

Chobani founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, dreamed up the program, and is looking for companies who:

  • Do the right thing by creating delicious, nutritious, natural and accessible food
  • Are inclusive by being accessible and affordable
  • Are like-minded with the same heart and passion to deliver good food to more people
  • Are ready to grow, taking part in a six-month program from October through March

One of those companies to be chosen for the incubator is Misfit Juicery, out of Washington DC, which transforms deformed, bruised or ugly fruits and vegetables that can’t be sold at market into juice.

The Juicery, founded by Georgetown graduates Ann Yang and Phil Wong, was chosen out of 400 companies from across the nation for the inaugural class, joining five other start-ups in the program.

Misfit Juicery, according to a story in the Washington Business Journal, had been operating on a “duct-taped infrastructure” before being chosen. The two founders want to put in a foundation before setting out to scale. The Chobani Incubator will give them mentorship, monthly programs (covering sustainable business practices, branding, marketing, scaling, packaging, food quality and safety, manufacturing and innovation) and access to the company’s plants and offices throughout the country, as well as an equity-free $25,000 grant.

Yang and Wong said they will use the funds to build their brand and increase production and sales.

The Chobani Incubator is based in Chobani’s SoHo offices in New York. Other companies included in the inaugural class include Banza from Detroit, Chops Snacks from New Haven, Connecticut, Cissé Cocoa Co. from New York, Jar Goods from Ardmore, Pennsylvania and Kettle & Fire from San Francisco. All six companies were chosen because of the quality of their business ideas, missions and commitment to giving more people access to better food, according to a release by Chobani.

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