Big Food is Fostering Innovation

Large corporations have been noticing how consumers have been favoring products made by independent startup food companies, since a good chunk of those provide craft, high-quality, niche, and, a lot of times, healthier products.

Needless to say, big food wants in. Especially, since this specialty food segment has a tremendous growth potential.

So, how is big food seeking innovation?

Companies like Campbell Soup, Chobani, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Tyson Foods are creating innovation centers and/or partnering with existing incubators to help niche brands grow and flourish.

PepsiCo

Pepsico’s new center for innovation is called “The Hive.”

According to Food Dive, “this incubator will be a separate entrepreneurial group outside of the core headquarters that will help nurture niche products already in the portfolio,” like for example Stubborn Soda.

As Foodable has reported in the past, PepsiCo also partnered with a Chicago-based, food and beverage incubator, The Hatchery, in order to look at other startup brands that have the potential of becoming a possible venture for the beverage giant.

Tyson Foods

Earlier this year, Tyson Foods announced that it will be working with two incubators—Plug and Play and 1871—linking the food giant to innovation hailing from Silicon Valley and Chicago.

That’s not the first time Tyson showed it’s commitment for innovation. In fact, the company launched a venture capital fund in late 2016 “to invest in companies developing breakthrough technologies, business models and products to sustainably feed the growing world population,” according to the company website.

Since then, Tyson has invested in brands like for example Beyond Meat, that promote sustainability and others that promote the internet of food, like FoodLogiq.

Tyson is spearheading innovation through its own brand, ¡Yappah!, which aims to fight food waste by utilizing “forgotten” ingredients like rescued vegetable puree and spent grain to make protein crisps, and investments in companies like Future Meat Technologies, an Israel-based “biotechnology company aiming to transform global meat production through distributive manufacturing of fat and muscle cells, increasing food safety and reducing ecological impact worldwide,” as stated in the company’s website.

Chobani

Chobani is another company looking to foster innovation through its Food Tech Residency. The company set out specific challenges in the food and agriculture value chain they would like to tackle (like food waste, food safety, water conservation, logistics, etc.) and invites like-minded, early-stage tech and agriculture startups to apply for funding.

Currently, the brand is hosting it’s fourth incubator class, since it launched the program in 2016, with companies developing products like tea, hummus and allergen-free baking ingredients. Alongside the food startups, two tech companies will be participating in Chobani’s inaugural Tech Residency Program—CinderBio and Skyven Technologies.

Watch the video above to learn more and stay tuned to other Industry Pulse episodes to keep up with all the innovation happening around your business! To learn about other consumer trends involving sustainability like plant-based meals, watch the video below:

SFA Live: Food Incubators Keep Tech Out of Food, But In the Manufacturing Processes

SFA Live: Food Incubators Keep Tech Out of Food, But In the Manufacturing Processes

Canopy Foods is a food production studio working as both a manufacturer and also as brand support, assisting with things like distribution and fulfillment.

Elly Truesdell has a ton of experience growing food in the incubator space. She sits on the Board of Canopy Foods, acts as a mentor to FOOD-X and Chobani Food Incubator and acts as an advisor to Agbotic, automated Organic soil greenhouses.

Read More

Packed With Protein, Why Health-Conscious Consumers Can't Get Enough of This Product

Packed With Protein, Why Health-Conscious Consumers Can't Get Enough of This Product

The healthy food movement is alive and kicking.

“The consumer-driven shift towards fresher, cleaner foods isn’t a fad. It is a movement that is here to stay,” reported “Fortune” last year.

And stay it has!

We are increasingly seeing more fine-dining restaurants offer fresh, seasonal, farm-to-table ingredients within their menus. As well as many fast casual concepts making health-conscious decisions when it comes to sourcing ingredients, ultimately, making the healthy food movement part of their business model.

According to a Statista survey, 59 percent of professional chefs from the American Culinary Federation stated that vegetable carb substitutes were a top trend in main dishes for restaurant menus in 2017. In another survey from the same source, 76 percent of consumers said they are making small changes to achieve a healthier overall diet in 2016.

At the rate consumers are gravitating to a health-conscious diet, it is more important than ever for foodservice professionals and suppliers to recognize this and cater to the demand.

That’s exactly what yogurt company Chobani® has been doing through its recipe gallery for the foodservice industry.

Read More

NY Farmers Feel Pressures of Yogurt Demand

Photo Credit: NPR

Photo Credit: NPR

In the past 6 years, Greek yogurt has become a hot supermarket list item. Brands like Chobani and Fage have been the leaders in the genre, and New York has been dubbed "the Silicon Valley of yogurt." But with the intense demand, farmers are beginning to feel the pressure.

Some bigger local farmers have curbed this by investing in new technology and better conditions for cows in order to become more productive. The small local farmers, however, are facing space issues with land in order to invest in better and bigger equipment. Read More