Top Greek yogurt maker Chobani LLC, Norwich, N.Y., announced nine startup companies in its spring 2018 Incubator program. The companies, selected by Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, will each receive a $25,000 equity-free grant and hands-on mentorship from across Chobani’s organization.
The largest to date, this third incubator class will run from April 2018 to July 2018, and be based in a dedicated space at Chobani's sales and marketing offices in New York. Comprising disruptive companies striving to improve high potential food categories in the U.S., they range from innovative snack products like seed-based butter and peanut butter protein puffs to re-imagined baby food, healthier breakfasts, energy drinks, smoothie options and nutritional foods that can help kids learn to love vegetables. The Incubator program is equity-free with no strings attached for participating entrepreneurs.
The 2018 class:
- 88 Acres, Allston, Mass., which crafts nutritious snacks and seed butters free from 11 most common food allergens, including gluten, nuts, dairy and soy.
- Fresh Bellies, a White Plains, N.Y., organic baby food producer that doesn't mask vegetables with fruit and uses herbs and spices to train baby palates with its chef-formulated recipes.
- Masienda, a clean-label tortilla company from Los Angeles with an impact-based supply chain that supports more than 2,000 small farmers throughout Mexico. Their corn is grown using regenerative practices.
- Noka, Pacific Palisades, Calif., which makes superfood smoothies with balanced nutrition from organic whole fruits and vegetables.
- Nona Lim, an Oakland, Calif.-based manufacturer of Asian-inspired, convenient, clean soups, noodles and broths that have no additives, preservatives or dairy.
- Puffworks, an organic peanut butter puff maker in Portland that uses simple ingredients to deliver a nutritious, crunchy snack with plenty of plant-based protein.
- Remedy Organics, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., for its plant-based, functional beverages made with highly potent superfoods, ayurvedic herbs and botanicals, as well as protein and probiotics.
- teaRIOT, Venice, Calif., offering fresh tea blends focused on energy and nutrient wellness, flavored by cold-pressed, organic fruits, botanicals and veggies.
- Wildway, a San Antonio, Texas breakfast and snack food company featuring grain-free granola, grain-free hot cereal and smoothie bowl starter mixes.
The Incubator’s first class a few years back saw more than a 250-percent increase in distribution and 2.6-times growth in annual revenue. The program also had more than 650 applications for the nine spots in this year’s class – a 30-percent jump from last year, says 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."
For more information and updates from each of the participants, visit chobaniincubator.com.