NORWICH, N.Y. — Chobani, LLC, maker of America’s #1 Greek Yogurt brand and the second largest overall yogurt manufacturer in the U.S., has announced today the members of its Spring 2018 class for the Chobani Incubator. The third and largest Chobani Incubator class to date, with nine food startups, is comprised of companies that are disrupting and improving high-potential food categories in the U.S. – from new and innovative snack products like simple seed-based bars or peanut butter protein puffs to healthier energy drink and smoothie options to nutritional foods that can help kids learn to love vegetables.
“The past few years have proven the need, value and strong desire for a food incubator that is solely focused on supporting entrepreneurs who want to challenge the food industry, improve broken systems and bring better food to all people,” said Chobani Incubator Director Jackie Miller. “Through this program, we’ve seen companies double their distribution, expand their teams and launch new products—and we’re just getting started. Hamdi, our founder, hand-picked this class—our largest yet—for their unique ability to transform traditional product categories in the United States and we couldn’t be more excited to get started with them.”
The Chobani Incubator program helps entrepreneurs with big hearts and ideas break into food and beverage industries through equity-free investment and a strong focus on mentorship. There is proof the model works: the Incubator’s first class has seen a more than 250% increase in distribution and 2.6X growth in annual revenue. The program also had more than 650 applications for the nine spots in this year’s class – a 30% increase from last year.
For this class, Chobani selected purpose-driven entrepreneurs whose products are reinventing high- potential food and beverage categories – making them more delicious, nutritious, natural and accessible. As such, this class’ roster includes several brands striving to improve childhood nutrition; additionally, given the rise of millennials’ snacking habits, many are making it easier to eat nutritious food on-the-go. The entrepreneurs represent a broad swath of the country, with companies based across six states.
The third Chobani Incubator class will run from April 2018 to July 2018, based out of a dedicated space designed for the Incubator at Chobani’s sales and marketing offices in New York, NY.
A closer look at the startups selected:
- 88 Acres®, Allston, MA
88 Acres crafts nutritious snacks and seed butters made with simple ingredients that everybody can enjoy. All 88 Acres foods feature seeds as the primary ingredients and are free from the 11 most common food allergens, including gluten, nuts, dairy and soy. The New England-inspired snacks made in our dedicated bakery are vegan and always free from preservatives, additives, palm oil and GMOs. www.88acres.com
- Fresh Bellies®, White Plains, NY
Fresh Bellies is creating a new generation of healthful, adventurous eaters. The line of organic baby food is the first and only brand that doesn’t mask vegetables with fruit and uses herbs and spices to train baby palates from the very first bite. Each chef-formulated recipe teaches babies to eat varied flavors so they are less likely to become picky eaters later in life.www.freshbellies.com
- Masienda®, Los Angeles, CA
Masienda is a clean-label tortilla company with unprecedented sourcing. The company translates authentic flavor and time-tested recipes for the next generation of eaters. From farm to tortilla, Masienda’s impact-based supply chain supports more than 2,000 smallholder farmers throughout Mexico whose corn is grown using regenerative practices across more than 30,000 acres. www.masienda.com
- NOKA®, Pacific Palisades, CA
NOKA makes superfood smoothie packs that deliver balanced nutrition and naturally delicious flavor from organic whole fruits and veggies, packaged to be refreshing anytime and anywhere you want them. www.nokaorganics.com
- Nona Lim®, Oakland, CA
Nona Lim exists to make simple, clean and fresh foods more convenient for everyday living and basically aims to be the food at the store that is the Closest To Whole®. The innovative and delicious products such as the Asian-inspired soups, noodles, and broths have no additives, no preservatives, are dairy-free and are 100% crap-free. www.nonalim.com
- Puffworks®, Portland, OR
Founded in 2016 in Portland, Oregon, Puffworks makes organic peanut butter puffs using simple ingredients to deliver a naturally nutritious crunch. Each Puffworks snack is a powerhouse of plant-based protein intended to help promote healthier snacking, while nurturing our planet. Puffworks Peanut Butter Puffs are available in Original, Dark Chocolate and Honey. www.Puffworks.com
- Remedy Organics®, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Remedy Organics is a great-tasting health and wellness platform targeting health conscious consumers who are searching for functional plant-based food and beverages. The company offers a delicious line of plant-based beverages with purposeful function resulting from the use of highly potent superfoods, ayurvedic herbs and botanicals, as well as protein and probiotics. Its mission is to bring convenient, affordable, functional nutrition to the world in the form of plant-based food and beverages. www.remedyorganics.com
- teaRIOT®, Venice, CA
teaRIOT fresh tea blends are a mash-up of focused energy from tea and nutrient wellness in one bottle. No jitters. No crash. No added sugar. Each tea has the natural caffeine equivalent of an espresso shot (or more) and is flavored by a blend of cold-pressed, organic fruits, botanicals and veggies. The combination of caffeine, L-Theanine and no added sugar helps prolong energy levels and create a steady alertness that puts you in the zone to do more.www.teaRIOT.com
- Wildway®, San Antonio, TXWildway is a better-for-you breakfast and snack food company that inspires others with products that give you real nutrition from real food to fuel life’s wild adventures. Wildway’s lines of grain-free granola, grain-free hot cereal and smoothie bowl starter mixes are disrupting the breakfast category with products offering superior nutrition and ingredient profiles compared to their traditional counterparts. Their mission is to inspire others to live healthier, fuller lives, knowing that starts with what you put in your body first thing every day. www.wildwayoflife.com
For more information and updates from each of the participants, visit chobaniincubator.com
Watch a video from this class’ tasting session here.
Maker of America’s No. 1-selling Greek Yogurt brand and the second-largest yogurt manufacturer in the U.S., Chobani, LLC, was founded on the belief that people have great taste – they just need great options. Chobani produces high-quality authentic yogurt made with only natural, non-GMO ingredients from its plants in New Berlin, N.Y., Twin Falls, Idaho and South Victoria, Australia. Chobani is committed to using milk from regional farms and strengthening its surrounding local economies. Chobani gives a portion of its annual profits to charities worldwide through the company’s charitable foundation. In 2017, Chobani was recognized by Fast Company as one of the top 10 most innovative companies in the world. All Chobani products – including Chobani® Greek Yogurt, Chobani® Smooth, Chobani ®Flip®, Chobani® Greek Yogurt drinks, Chobani® with A Hint of Flavor, Chobani Tots® and Chobani Kids® products – are kosher certified, contain live and active cultures and are made with milk from cows not treated with rBST.* Chobani products are available nationwide in the U.S., Mexico and Australia, and in countries in Asia and Latin America. For more information, please visit www.chobani.com and www.facebook.com/chobani.