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.
Until recently, dried meat jerky was none something most people associated with Good Food. But one sign of the growing influence of the movement is that many products not normally seen as part of a well-balanced diet are being adapted into healthier and more sustainably produced versions — such as Think Jerky, the subject of this article.
Josh Katt, a Chicago chef, came up with the idea for his eight-year-old Kitchfix company while working as a personal chef and creating healthy meals — made from anti-inflammatory superfood ingredients — for customers who were fighting cancer. Kitchfix enabled him to expand the concept to a broader customer base. He grew a business that delivers prepared meals to homes and dropoff points, does catered events, and even has a small store in the Gold Coast neighborhood just north of downtown Chicago. Along the way, Katt and his team hit upon a product they learned had serious commercial potential: a grain-free, superfood-loaded variant of granola. His desire to grow this part of his business led to his participation in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator.
Vending machines. Not exactly what comes to mind when you think of Good Food… Until now, that is, thanks to companies such as Farmer’s Fridge, a business that is selling same-day-fresh jarred salads and healthy snacks from vending machines in dozens of locations around Chicago. This fast-growing company got a boost from participating in FamilyFarmed’s annual Good Food Festival & Conference and its Financial Fair.