Chobani announces 7 new startups in Food Incubator program, funds $175K total

Becoming a successful entrepreneur can be quite a struggle— There’s no way around it.

Ask anyone who’s started their own company, and they’ll probably tell you the two things you need to get your company off the ground: Capital and mentorship.

SEE ALSO: Chobani mentors six startups to nearly $3M in revenue, showcases in 'Expo West'

Of course, one has to be passionate about what they’re doing, believe in their brand fully amongst myriad other factors that all play a major role in turning a new company into a widespread success. 

But when a company can combine all these factors — passion, funding, mentorship, support and talent — with a message and product that’s sure to resonate amongst consumers everywhere, there’s no telling just how successful that company can become.

The Chobani Food Incubator program provides just that (and then some) to seven startups hoping to make waves in the food industry.

The program, which had its inaugural year in 2016, selected seven independent food brands that “are disrupting, innovating and inspiring new food categories in the U.S.”

Take a look at this year’s class:

8 PHOTOS
Chobani food incubator
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Chobani food incubator

Chloe's™ Fruit, New York (NY)

Chloe's Fruit is the perfect combination of just fruit, water and a touch of organic cane sugar. That's it! Blended in a soft serve machine, Chloe's offers creamy, clean, delicious frozen Soft Serve Fruit, from their flagship store in NYC, and 60 calorie Fruit Pops, available in grocery stores nationwide, that are dairy free, gluten free, fat free, vegan, kosher pareve, Non-GMO Project Verified and free from all eight major allergens. Founded by Chloe, a mom of three, Chloe's is 'the cool way to eat fruit.'

Visit www.chloesfruit.com for more information.

Farmer Willie's, Boston (MA)

Farmer Willie's makes craft ginger beer that is gluten free, has 75% less sugar and has fewer calories than a glass of wine. By fermenting cold pressed ginger, lemon and cane sugar with champagne yeast, they've created a fresh, dry 4.5% alc/vol ginger beer that won best in show at the NY Intl Beer Festival - 2017.

Visit www.thefarmerwillies.com for more information.

Grainful™, Ithaca (NY)

Grainful is on a mission to bring globally-inspired, bold tasting foods to all consumers at an affordable price and in an honest way, with grains as the foundation. With an increasing awareness about the value of nutrient-dense real foods for both the individual and the planet, Grainful is leading the way with healthier, for you, meal solutions for the busy consumer centered on high-protein grains and clean ingredients.

Visit www.grainful.com for more information. 

LoveTheWild, Boulder (CO) 

LoveTheWild is on a mission to change the way Americans view seafood. The company is disrupting the frozen seafood case through their exciting 3 step culinary experience: sustainable frozen fish paired with bold handcrafted sauce cubes and parchment paper.

Visit https://lovethewild.com for more information

Pique™ Tea Crystals, San Francisco (CA)

Pique Tea Crystals is the world's first instant plant fuel. Made purely from organic super-plants, free of sugar, additives and preservatives, the company is helping consumers reap the benefits of tea by making it easier for them to consume sufficient quantities of active ingredients that are not present in tea bags or bottled teas.

Visit www.piquetea.com for more information.

Rumi Spice, Chicago (IL)

Rumi Spice works directly with Afghan farmers to import the highest quality saffron and saffron products to restaurants and retail stores across the U.S. Co-founded by Army veterans who served combat tours in Afghanistan, Rumi has hired 384 Afghan women, stood up three processing facilities and has over 90 farmers in its network.

Visit www.rumispice.com for more information. 

Snow Monkey™, Santa Monica (CA)

Snow Monkey has reinvented ice cream as a nutritious and delicious treat crafted from all-natural, plant-based ingredients, allowing Americans to enjoy their favorite dessert for breakfast, fuel or indulgence. Their Superfood Ice Treats are vegan, paleo, packed with 21g of protein per pint, and free from all eight major allergens like dairy, gluten, soy and nuts.

Visit https://snow-monkey.com for more information.

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Each company will receive $25K in funding from Chobani, no strings attached. 

Not bad, right?

If you wish it existed, these are the companies that are probably creating it — from vegan ice cream to low calorie alcohol.

Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani, explained the process of choosing the companies:

"To select our second next class, we tasted hundreds of products and met with entrepreneurs across the country and the world. These seven companies each have something special and unique. In selecting this class, we looked at what categories—and what teams of people—have the ability to make big changes in American supermarkets and give more people better options. I can't wait to have these companies at Chobani to see how we can help them on their journey and welcome them to our family."

Here’s a visual look at how applicants were selected and what top trends were:

This year’s class will run from September 2017 until December 2017 at Chobani’s offices in New York, NY.

RELATED: Chobani Food Incubator, 2016

7 PHOTOS
Chobani Food Incubator program winners
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Chobani Food Incubator program winners

Kettle & Fire

Key Achievements

  • Registered a 4x increase in distribution
  • Improved same-store sales by 150%+

Photo credit: Kettle & Fire

Jar Goods

Key Achievements

  • Grown number of doors by 50%
  • Began interviews for the company's first hire

Photo credit: Jar Goods

Banza

Key Achievements

  • Secured national distribution with leading retailer
  • Hired new head of field marketing through a referral from fellow Incubator company Cissé Cocoa Co

Photo credit: Banza

Chops Snacks

Key Achievements

  • Product launch requested from 4 national grocery chain through conversations at Expo West
  • Became the top-rated beef jerky on several of the largest e-commerce platforms in the U.S.

Photo credit: Chops Snacks

Misfit Juicery

Key Achievements

  • Named Nexty Editor's Choice: Best New Beverage at Expo West
  • Launched a partnership with fast casual chain Dig Inn to make a better orange juice

Photo credit: Misfit Juicery

Cissé Cocoa Co.

Key Achievements

  • Significant increase in store count from 2,000 to 4,500 doors
  • Launched in Hudson News retail stores

Photo credit: Cissé Cocoa Co.

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