by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed Investors’ interest in early-stage Good Food businesses began to grow quickly about a decade ago, as venture capital began to recognize the profitable opportunities presented by the fast-rising consumer demand for locally and sustainably produced fresh and processed food. FamilyFarmed’s recognition of this trend spawned the creation of its Good Food Read more about Good Food Businesses Prosper As Investor Interest Grows[…]
Sales growth of natural food and beverage products is greatly outpacing sales growth for conventional products at the national level, a trend that has been consistent now for several years. The same can be said in every region of the United States, according to an analysis of market data by SPINS, the leading provider of retail consumer insights, analytics reporting and consulting services for the natural, organic and specialty products industry. And some of the differentials in sales growth between natural and conventional products are striking.
There have been a few headline-grabbing Big Food purchases of Good Food companies that have involved huge amounts of money. There are stalwart Good Food advocates who cringe at this development. Those who support or are at least sanguine about the new reality say, however, that the Good Food ecosystem benefits from Big Food’s acknowledgement and intersection with Good Food. We share insights on this important topic from FamilyFarmed’s Financing & Innovation Conference, held June 19 in Chicago.
John Foraker shared his experiences as former CEO of Annie’s Homegrown and current CEO of the Once Upon A Farm organic fresh baby food company (co-founded by actress Jennifer Garner) at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference in Chicago on June 19. The entrepreneurs in attendance gained plenty of tips on scaling up a startup business, developing new products, taking risks and learning from what did not succeed. They also came away with one guiding principle from one of the pioneers in organic consumer packaged goods.
In five short years since its launch, Simple Mills has enjoyed remarkable growth with its packaged baked goods and baking products, all of which are gluten free, grain free, soy free, non-GMO, and Paleo friendly. Founder/CEO Katlin Smith will discuss Simple Mills’ rapid rise next Tuesday (June 19) at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference in Chicago, on a panel titled “Breakthrough Entrepreneurs Talk Innovation.”
FamilyFarmed’s 8th annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference — to be held June 19 in Chicago — is the Midwest’s premier business and investment event focused on local and sustainable food. And as usual, the Financing Fair is the heart of the Conference’s entrepreneurial programming. This article will introduce you to the 38 companies who will participate in this year’s Financing Fair.
During his more than a decade and a half leading Annie’s Inc., John Foraker played a pioneering role in creating the market sector for organic versions of popular consumer packaged goods (CPGs) such as macaroni-and-cheese mix, crackers and breakfast cereals. Foraker was so successful building the Annie’s Homegrown product line that General Mills bought the company in 2014 for $820 million. So what is Foraker doing for an encore? He, with other innovators who include actress Jennifer Garner, has co-founded Once Upon A Farm, which is spearheading an effort to create a new retail category for fresh, organic, refrigerated baby food.
When it comes to good food, are you one of the True Believers or Enlightened Environmentalists who are really into it? A Healthy Realist or Strapped Seeker, who wants to eat better but faces budget and time constraints? Or are products defined as natural and organic just not a priority for you, as an Indifferent Traditionalist, a Struggling Switcher or a Resistant Non-Believer?
FamilyFarmed’s 8th Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference — the Midwest’s premier annual business and investment event in the Good Food space — is coming up Tuesday, June 19 in Chicago. And the biggest new wrinkle is the Pitch Slam, a business pitch competition in which the winners will be receive cash and in-kind prizes. We’re a little too genteel to have a man-eating beast — like a shark — as our mascot, so perhaps we’ll call this our Sustainable Seafood Tank.
FamilyFarmed is proud to share the first installment of our new Good Food Insights series in partnership with New Hope Network, producer of industry-leading annual events that include the Natural Product Expos (West and East) and the Esca Bona thought leadership conference (which is the platform for the Insights series). This series of articles that will unpack the dynamics driving Good Food.
FamilyFarmed, a leading nonprofit advocate for a better food system, is happy to introduce you to the program for its 8th annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference. The Midwest’s premier business gathering focused on locally and sustainably produced food will be held Tuesday, June 19 at the Morgan Manufacturing event space in Chicago’s West Loop — and it has its strongest-ever lineup of industry experts discussing cutting-edge issues.
The Chicago-based Sustainable Local Food Investment Group, better known as SLoFIG, was one of the first groups focused on making equity deals and loans specifically to Good Food business startups. That underscores just how recently the Good Food sector has been recognized as a promising and profitable place to invest — since SLoFIG itself has been around only since late 2010.
The technology behind blockchain is complicated, but its potentially enormous benefits to food businesses are simpler to explain. Blockchain enables producers to prove their product claims and, via an app, provide that information in an easily accessible form to consumers who care deeply about where their food comes from. It also provides near-instant traceability that can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to pinpoint the source of a food safety problem.
It was a proud and happy moment for FamilyFarmed when Ferd Hoefner, the longtime face and voice of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) took to the podium Saturday night in Chicago as the first of five recipients of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards — all of whom have devoted their lives to more fairness and equity in the American food system.
Shared kitchens provide often-crucial workspaces to food entrepreneurs who have products they think will sell, but lack the money to either build their own production facilities or contract with co-manufacturers. Now, Chicago startups have an important new resource with the May 3 grand opening of Pilotworks’ new shared kitchen and business incubator.
About a decade ago, Tera Johnson raised millions of dollars to build a state of the art “green” factory to produce organic whey powder, and even though it opened in 2009 at the depths of the Great Recession, that market for her Tera’s Whey turned out to be huge. By early 2013, less than four years after opening, Johnson sold Tera’s Whey to Omega Protein for more than $26 million. This kind of meteoric entrepreneur experience may be the exception, but it happens… which is why the owners of eight early-stage food businesses hung on every word on April 23 when Johnson delivered an engaging talk at the graduation ceremony for the latest cohort in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator program.
Michael Bashaw of Whole Foods Market knows all about change. During more than two decades with the company — rising from meat cutter to Midwest regional president, a position he has held since 2009 — Bashaw was part of Whole Foods’ development into the nation’s biggest natural and organic food supermarket chain. And for nearly a year, he has been managing change as Whole Foods adjusts to Amazon’s purchase and takeover of the company. So Bashaw chose change as the subject of his talk at the recent graduation ceremony for the fourth cohort of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator program
by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed FamilyFarmed always approaches the graduation of its latest Good Food Accelerator cohort with gratitude and anticipation. We are grateful that we get to work with and assist promising entrepreneurs who are seeking to grow their companies (and also happen to be super-nice people too). The anticipation is looking forward to the Read more about New Good Food Accelerator Grads Ready To Put Pedal To The Metal[…]
Attention, Good Food entrepreneurs! FamilyFarmed’s annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference is coming up on Tuesday, June 19 in Chicago — and you can apply to compete for cash prizes and in-kind services in our 2018 Good Food Pitch Slam… and to participate in the annual Financing Fair.
by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed Another great Good Food EXPO — the 14th annual rendition of FamilyFarmed’s biggest annual event — is in the books. Thanks to all the participants — speakers, panelists, industry experts, farmers, food product makers, buyers, sellers, investors, and more than 5,000 members of the public — who presented, exhibited, did demos Read more about 2018 Good Food EXPO Success In Words and Pictures[…]