BareItAll Pet Treats: Giant Leap To Address Asian Carp Invasion

BareItAll Petfoods was something of a fish out of water as a participant of FamilyFarmed’s Financing Fair on June 19 — which is singularly focused on people food, and BareItAll makes pet treats from freeze-dried fish. But the type of fish used by the Chicago start-up is what made their Good Food Financing Fair debut a swimming success. They are harvesting Asian carp, an aggressive invasive species that is wreaking ecological havoc on Midwestern river systems — and presenting a major threat to the Great Lakes fisheries if they manage to gain access to Lake Michigan.

Motherhood Was Necessity of Invention For Pitch Slam Winner “ready to BRANDS”

The proverb says that necessity is the mother of invention. Yet for the team who founded ready to BRANDS, it was impending motherhood — and a rare and debilitating condition associated with it — that necessitated their invention of ready to EASE, a nausea relief product that can be taken as an ice pop or liquid shot. The power of Mark Muller’s creative response to a critical situation — and the simple appeal of his organic, all-natural product — helped ready to BRANDS win a highly competitive Pitch Slam, beating out eight other outstanding business startups at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference in June.

Green City Market

Green City Market’s Chef BBQ: Foodie Heaven With Social Impact

The biggest beneficiaries of the Chef BBQ aren’t the satisfied (maybe sated) attendees. The BBQ is a fundraiser that provides resources for Green City Market’s main location in Chicago’s Lincoln Park and three recently opened satellite locations, all of which provide regional farmers from Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin with a place to sell to the fast-growing constituency of consumers seeking food grown locally using sustainable, humane and fair practices. The BBQ also helps fund Green City Market’s food education programs for children and its food access programs that enable lower-income customers to enjoy the seasonal bounty of fresh, healthy food that once was mostly limited to more affluent consumers.

FamilyFarmed

Chef-Driven Culinology Keeps Ingredion On Trend

Through most of its history, the company now known as Ingredion might have raised eyebrows participating in a Good Food event. Known as Corn Products from its founding in 1906 until its re-branding in 2012, the company produced commercial-scale oils, starches and sweeteners — including corn syrup that for many years was ubiquitous in many of the nation’s consumer packaged goods. But times have changed, with consumers demanding food with healthier and more natural ingredients. And Ingredion has changed with the times. That is why the Ingredion for Emerging Business program partnered with The Hatchery — a growing Chicago food business incubator — and FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator in a presentation on its chef-driven Culinology program, which plays a central role in keeping Ingredion current with consumer and restaurant trends.

FamilyFarmed

Natural Food and Beverage Sales On Fast Track In Every U.S. Region

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.

FamilyFarmed

Financing Conference Insights: When Big Food Sees The Good In Good Food

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.

FamilyFarmed

Financing Conference Insights: Foraker On Importance Of Mission and Values

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.

Simple Mills’ Katlin Smith: From 0 to 13,000 (Stores) In Five Years

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.”

Financing Fair Provides Face Time For Food Startups And Investors

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.

Oh Baby: Former Annie’s CEO Brings Good Food To The Small Set At Once Upon A Farm

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.

Where You Fit On The Good Food Consumer Spectrum

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?

Financing Conference Pitch Competitors Are Slammin’

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.

Good Food Insights: What Does “Good Food” Mean?

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

Learn From (And Meet) Industry Stars At Financing & Innovation Conference

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.

SLoFIG’s Investments Help Good Food Startups Speed Up Growth

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.

James Beard Foundation

Five Food Equity Heroes Honored With James Beard Leadership Awards

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.

Pilotworks’ New Chicago Shared Kitchen Aims To Steer Startups To Success

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.

Good Food Accelerator

How Tera Johnson Got From “No Way” To “Yes, Whey” In Near-Record Time

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. 

Good Food Accelerator

Whole Foods Exec Urges Accelerator Grads To Face Change Fearlessly

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

Entrepreneurs, Get Your Game On At The Financing & Innovation Conference

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.