When you go to a supermarket, everything seems so orderly, stocked neatly on shelves, in bins and in coolers. But behind the scenes, getting food from farm to factory to grocery store fridge — a process known as supply chain management — can be complicated and messy. While some of the bigger food businesses handle supply chain internally, many others, including smaller and start-up businesses turn to the expertise of consultants with years of experience. One of these is Will Madden, co-founder of Chicago-based Whole Brain Consulting. FamilyFarmed interview Will about his business’ origins, why food businesses need contract manufacturers, the biggest supply chain challenges… and why he made the highest bid for a CEO yacht cruise on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan that was a silent auction prize at last April’s Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration.
“Just within the past 10 years, this industry has skyrocketed. Everything around this industry has completely changed. The consumers who shop this industry have changed. It’s no longer just the crunchy hipsters in Boulder.” That is how Anubhav (Anu) Goel described the fast-rising demand for Good Food at the start of his data-driven keynote speech at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator Application Celebration at 1871 Chicago last week.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator (GFA) staged its annual Application Celebration and Networking Event at Chicago’s 1871 business incubator on Tuesday. It included a panel of four GFA graduates moderated by Scott Mandell, a program “supermentor” who founded hugely successful Enjoy Life Foods. And when Scott asked the alums about the biggest change in their businesses fostered by the Accelerator, the response by Mitch Wasserman of Full Belly Foods drew chuckles from the full-house audience.
Jason Hammel of the critically acclaimed Lula Café is a rarity among Chicago’s top chefs, in that he did not learn the craft in the kitchens of culinary legends. Jason is essentially self-taught. But he counts Chicago legends such as Rick Bayless, Paul Kahan and Matthias Merges as his role models and mentors. Like them, he has played a major role in sourcing from local and regional farmers. We are honored to have Jason as a participating chef at the Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration, a joint fundraiser for Chef Rick Bayless‘ Frontera Farmer Foundation and FamilyFarmed, which will be held at The Art Institute of Chicago on Sunday, April 30.
Seed 2 Growth Ventures — known more familiarly as S2G — is breaking new ground as a Chicago-based venture capital firm providing capital to cutting-edge food, restaurant and agriculture businesses in the Good Food sector. This innovative “Soil to Shelf” investment model is the reason why FamilyFarmed will present S2G Ventures with its 2017 Good Food Business of the Year Award on Thursday, at its annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference at Chicago’s UIC Forum.
There are no guarantees for entrepreneurs launching new food ventures. But success can come amazingly fast when a food startup hits the sweet spot — or the sweet and savory spot in the case of Simple Mills, the Chicago-based company that produces a variety of nutrient-dense, grain-free baking mixes and crackers (and will be exhibiting at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Trade Show and Good Food Festival.
“Good Food movement” and “Local Food movement” are virtually synonymous to a lot of people. Yet the rising tide of consumer demand for Good Food is prompting more and more retailers, wholesalers and chefs to think globally while they act locally. This issue will be examined by the “Does Good Food Need to Be Local” panel at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference on March 16.
The promise of healthier snack food alone would have made Chicago’s Tea Squares an excellent candidate for FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator. But Tea Squares’ social mission — which includes creating jobs and stimulating economic growth in its challenged South Side community — was a clincher.
You would be hard-pressed to find a business that is more local, more community-based, and more dedicated to revitalizing economically challenged neighborhoods than Chicago’s Urban Canopy.
By Joel Blechman, FamilyFarmed When I tell people I’m the director of the Good Food Business Accelerator, which FamilyFarmed launched last fall, I’m frequently asked, “What does that mean?” Accelerators — which provide mentorship, networking opportunities, and other assistance to promising entrepreneurial businesses — compose a fast-rising sector that is promoting economic development in the Read more about Good Food Business Accelerator Fellows to Show Their Skills at April 27 Demo Day[…]
The week that organic advocates descend upon Capitol Hill has come to be regarded as Organic Week in D.C., and for good reason. We always have a battalion of organic stakeholders armed with expert knowledge and a passion for the organic community.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival & Conference kicked off a packed three-day schedule Thursday with its Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference. The program featured an introduction to the nonprofit organization’s new Good Food Business Accelerator.
The new Local Foods store being built in Chicago may turn out to be something of village square for the local Good Food movement, bringing together and helping to boost the kinds of small food businesses people used to frequent. And it could, just possibly, serve as a template for the supermarket of the future.
There are so many elements to the Good Food movement that it would be hard for any one event to capture its breadth. But “Trade Day” at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival & Conference March 20 — comes as close as can be to a comprehensive overview of this sweeping effort to change the way we eat for the better.
While there has long been robust interest in food co-ops in a number of communities across the United States, Chicago has lagged a bit behind. But change is under way. Over the past couple of years, there’s been an explosion of interest in retail food co-ops in the metro Chicago area, which in turn has spawned the Chicagoland Co-op Coalition.
The stories of immigrants achieving success by making the foods of their native lands are parts of the history and social fabric of the United States. But Jenny Yang of Chicago’s Phoenix Bean tofu has an immigrant food story with a modern twist. While millions of people have come to America to escape poverty or oppression, Yang first came to the U.S. from her native Taiwan a quarter-century ago in pursuit of higher education.
There is hardly a bigger Good Food movement success story than that of Whole Foods Market. So Michael Bashaw — president of Whole Foods Market’s 48-store-and-growing Midwest region — had a very attentive audience when he spoke Monday (Feb. 2) to entrepreneurs, financiers, and others associated with FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator program.
Americans are increasingly health-conscious and concerned about what foods they are putting into their bodies. While there are plenty of nutritious and tasty whole foods out there, it is easy to fall back on the old, less healthy habits of doughnuts or candy bars or chips.
This is an issue that dailyServing, a Chicago-based food startup, aims to address.
The Good Food movement is growing rapidly in part because consumers have confidence that the products they buy are what the producers say they are. This also means that those involved across the Good Food sector need to be on guard against any exaggerated or misleading claims that could erode that consumer confidence.
The goal of creating a year-round local food culture in the nation’s northern regions is hindered by relatively short growing seasons. But the increasing number of indoor growing facilities — such as Illinois’ Living Water Farms — is helping to change that.