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.
The FamilyFarmed crew had been talking for a while about taking a Chicago Water Taxi cruise down to lunch in Chinatown, and we finally set a date. What would have been a fun day out in any case became a special occasion when the team was joined by Jenny Yang of Chicago’s Phoenix Bean Tofu — a fast-growing graduate of the first cohort of Fellows in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator,
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.