Meet the start-ups: Chobani unveils latest incubator class

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12 Mar 2018 --- The producers of the number one Greek yogurt brand in the US, Chobani has unveiled its third incubator class with nine food start-ups including innovative and disruptive companies that are improving food categories. This will be the third class of its kind from Chobani and this time will include companies reimagining baby food, healthier breakfast, better beverage and snack options and more.

It includes new 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 children 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 US and we couldn't be more excited to get started with them.”

The Chobani Incubator program helps entrepreneurs break into food and beverage industries through equity-free investment and a strong focus on mentorship.

Click to EnlargeThere is proof the model works: the Incubator's first class has seen a more than 250 percent 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 percent 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 in six states.

The third Chobani Incubator class will run from April to July based out of a dedicated space designed for the Incubator at Chobani's sales and marketing offices in New York.

A closer look at the selected start-ups:
Click to Enlarge88 Acres, Allston, Massachusetts: 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 its dedicated bakery are vegan and always free of preservatives, additives, palm oil and GMOs.

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.

Masienda, Los Angeles, California: 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.

NOKA, Pacific Palisades, California: 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.

Nona Lim, Oakland, California: Nona Lim exists to make simple, clean and fresh foods more convenient for everyday living and 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.

Puffworks, Portland, Oregon: Founded in 2016, 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.

Remedy Organics, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: 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 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.

teaRIOT, Venice, California: 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 with 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.
Wildway, San Antonio, Texas: Wildway 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.

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