Makers of high-protein falafel, gluten-free empanadas and frozen fruits are among the start-ups selected to take part in Chobani’s spring 2019 incubator.
Chobani said the class brings together a diverse mix of backgrounds, perspectives and culinary inspirations.
With eight start-ups taking part, the class is the most diverse cohort in the programme’s history, across genders, geographies, race and ethnicity, and country of origin.
Underrepresented minority founders make up 75% of the class, while 63% of brand founders or co-founders are female.
Cocina 54 makes a range of frozen empanadas.
Running since 2016, the Chobani incubator programme aims to help entrepreneurs break into food and beverage industries through equity-free investment and a focus on mentorship.
Chobani founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, dreamed up the initiative and he selects all the final participants and spends time getting to know and mentor each company.
The brands in full
Chobani said the first two classes to participate in the incubator have, on average, achieved a 68% increase in distribution and a 67% increase in annual revenue in 2018 from the year-ago period. Overall, alumni have collectively raised more than $60 million since the programme’s inception in 2016.
Texas-based Afia Foods uses Syrian recipes to make frozen, protein-forward falafel and kibbeh.
Last May, Chobani launched an incubator programme with a focus on food tech and ag-tech start-ups for the first time. Called the Food Tech Residency, the scheme saw the dairy company aim to respond to pressing issues within the food and beverage industry.
When the initiative was launched, Chobani incubator director at Jackie Miller told FoodBev: “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.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019