Chobani selects seven food and beverage startups for second incubator class

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Chobani selected this year's class of its Food Incubator based on their social mission-based business models and desire to change the food system.
Chobani selected this year's class of its Food Incubator based on their social mission-based business models and desire to change the food system.

Related tags Yoghurt Alcoholic beverage Food

Chobani has chosen seven startups out of more than 550 applicants for its second annual Food Incubator program based on each company’s commitment to innovation. 

The Greek yogurt maker’s Food Incubator program was introduced last year​ as a way of extending the company’s mission of “making better food for more people.”

The new group ranges from products such as plant-based ice cream, a low-sugar, low-calorie beer alternative, a healthier frozen fruit pop, as well as fresh and sustainable takes on foods including oats, saffron and seafood.

“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,”​ CEO of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya, said.

The second Food Incubator class will run from September 2017 to December 2017, based out of a dedicated space designed for the Incubator at Chobani's sales and marketing offices in New York City.

Who applied?

Since its launch last year, the Chobani Food Incubator program saw a 20% increase in the number of applicants, according to the company.

Companies with vegan claims, ethnic flavors, and dairy alternatives were among the top trends noticed by Chobani during the vetting process. Snacks represented the largest portion of the type of products applicants made with 194 submissions.

Additionally, more than half of applicants (54%) were female founders or cofounders and 41% were an underrepresented minority, the company said.

For this year's class, Chobani said it was searching for purpose-driven entrepreneurs whose business models are rooted in social good initiatives, and want to making natural, creative food more accessible, while doing so in a sustainable way.

The startups selected were:

  • Chloe’s Fruit, maker of 60-calorie frozen fruit pops made from water, fruit, and cane sugar.
  • Farmer Willie’s, a low-calorie alcoholic craft ginger beer that is gluten free.
  • Grainful, based in Ithaca, New York, which uses grains as the foundation for its globally-inspired meals.
  • LoveTheWild, a packaged, sustainable, frozen fish paired with handcrafted sauce cubes and parchment paper.
  • Pique Tea Crystals, made from organic “super plants”, free of sugar additives, and preservatives.
  • Rumi Spice, which works directly with Afghan farmers to import saffron and saffron products to restaurants and retail stores across the US.
  • Snow Monkey, maker of an ice cream from plant-based ingredients that are vegan, paleo, and free from eight major allergens. 

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