The Good Food movement has gained major ground in recent years, driven by fast-rising consumer demand for better and healthier products. One tangible proof of that is in the growing community of investors who are helping Good Food companies start up and grow. One such company is Chicago’s Spiral Sun Ventures, whose tag line is “Investing In Healthy.” Spiral Sun works mainly with small, early-stage companies. The firm also is a friend of FamilyFarmed, and they exhibited at our 2017 Good Food EXPO. More than that, there are Spiral Sun clients who also are FamilyFarmed Good Food Accelerator Fellows or regular exhibitors at our Good Food Expo.
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.
FamilyFarmed is getting close to announcing the roster of competitively selected Fellows who will participate (from November to April) in the fourth cohort of its Good Food Accelerator. So as a warmup, we’re recalling the nine great business from the third cohort that graduated last spring.
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.
FamilyFarmed invites rising food entrepreneurs to apply for a Fellowship in our Good Food Accelerator (GFA). The application period begins today (Aug. 14), and we will have scheduled a GFA Application Celebration and Networking Event on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 1871 in the Merchandise Mart.
As part of its efforts to assist its small business associates, The Hatchery food business incubator held a pop-up market, sponsored by Groupon, at downtown Chicago’s Revival Food Hall on Saturday (June 17). So we dropped by to visit with a bunch of our food-making friends — and to purchase some of their delicious products, of course!
The record attendance at FamilyFarmed’s 2017 Good Food Festival & Conference in Chicago underscored important points about the Good Food movement’s growing momentum. More than 7,500 people attended the 13th Good Food Festival & Conference, held March 16-18 at the UIC Forum on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference, coming up on Thursday, is Chicago’s must-attend event of the year for investors, retailers, wholesalers, distributors and others who want a heads up about the region’s most promising Good Food businesses and products. And the centerpieces of this world-class networking event are the business pitch event and the Financing Fair.
The Hatchery, a food business incubator in Chicago, started up just last year with a small space but big plans. Those plans are now taking a giant step toward fruition with $2 million in economic development funding that is being provided by the City of Chicago. The Hatchery also will participate in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival & Conference March 17 and 18.
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.
Interest in a better way to eat is ingrained in the culinary culture in Chicago. So the Jean Banchet Culinary Awards ceremony — which doubles as a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation — is always a good day for Good Food.
Nine competitively selected Fellows are participating in the third year of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator, and they represent a wide range of exciting entrepreneurial ventures: from unique pies and clean meals to tea-infused energy bites and indigenous wild rice cereal, and from locally sourced juices and sparkling fruit tonics to pickled produce and sippable soups.