Mondelēz International has joined forces with business incubator The Hatchery Chicago, as it ramps up innovation efforts in the snacking space.
Described as “one of the largest food incubation spaces in the US”, The Hatchery helps entrepreneurs grow food and beverage businesses through three areas: access to production space, financing and resources.
Mondelēz will work with the non-profit to offer educational opportunities and mentorship to entrepreneurs active in Chicago’s food and drink scene.
The partnership is one of several investments the company is making as part of SnackFutures – the firm’s innovation and venture hub that was launched last October and is aimed at unlocking snacking growth opportunities globally.
Through the collaboration, Mondelēz and SnackFutures aim to be able to connect with the local food and beverage start-up community and work together to accelerate and scale innovation.
Mondelēz chief growth officer Tim Cofer said: “We are truly impressed with the talented start-ups coming out of The Hatchery and are excited to be part of this journey. As the world’s snacking leader, it is increasingly important for us to collaborate with the best and brightest talent in advancing the future of snacking.
“With SnackFutures, we want to disrupt the food industry by testing new ideas and scaling what works. Working with The Hatchery food entrepreneurs will help us push the boundaries of what is possible in snacking as we continue to build our ecosystem of partners while also giving back and offering guidance to new companies.”
Natalie Shmulik, CEO of The Hatchery Chicago, added: “At The Hatchery Chicago, we believe collaboration accelerates innovation and increases the rate of success for companies – big and small.
“Through this partnership with Mondelēz International, we’re creating even more opportunities for our entrepreneurs and community members to access the mentorship and industry expertise that will help them take their business to the next level.”
Described as a “key pillar” of the Mondelēz’s consumer-centric growth strategy, SnackFutures is designed as an independent hub that brings three core tenets of growth under one umbrella to accelerate innovation: invention of new brands and businesses, reinvention of small-scale brands with large-scale potential, and venture investments with start-up entrepreneurs.
Earlier this month, SnackFutures secured its first investment, acquiring a minority stake in functional food supplements start-up Uplift Food.
The firm’s powdered supplements can be added to applications such as smoothies, snack bars or oats to add extra functional benefits and help support the gut health of consumers.
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