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.
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.
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[…]
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.
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, 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.
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[…]
FamilyFarmed’s 14th annual Good Food EXPO is coming up March 23-24 at Chicago’s UIC Forum. Make your plans now to attend the nation’s oldest trade and consumer event focused specifically on local and sustainable food. Tickets are on sale for the Friday, March 23 programming: The Good Food Trade Show: Production, Policy and Industry Exchange. These affordable tickets can be purchased on this linked page. The Good Food Festival, FamilyFarmed’s big annual public celebration of the fast-rising Good Food movement, will follow on Saturday, March 24.
FamilyFarmed’s Annual Giving Campaign is under way, and to highlight the work we do to build a better food system, we are running a series of profiles of great businesses that have participated in our programs. Today we look at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food EXPO and Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference through the eyes of Luke Saunders of Farmer’s Fridge, the Chicago company whose fresh salad vending machines are changing the way eaters view self-service food options.
Everyone eats, and what you eat matters — which is why we at FamilyFarmed are proud of our work growing the availability of Good Food. In the coming weeks, we’ll share stories of the local food and farm entrepreneurs whose mission to produce Good Food has been served by FamilyFarmed, thanks to contributions from Good Foodies like you. We ask for your support so these programs thrive and we can continue to develop new and innovative Good Food initiatives in 2018.