Hot & Fresh Out the Kitchen: Chobani Food Incubator at Expo West

Chobani Food Incubator participants attending Expo West, Spring 2017

We can hardly believe we are nearing the end of the journey for the inaugural class of the Chobani Food Incubator! Earlier this month we went out with a bang at Natural Products Expo West — the leading industry trade show with over 77,000 attendees at the Anaheim Convention Center. All six of our companies had their own booths and tables onsite, in addition to repping the Incubator at Chobani’s booth and in a showcase space featuring all of their products.

We networked with countless founders (shout out to everyone who came by to say hi!) at Chobani’s booth and took more than a few selfies with some of you. We can’t wait to get started on the search for the next class: applications will open in May and the program will start in September.

Brian Rudolph, Co-Founder of Banza, pitching to the audience.

Brian Rudolph, Co-Founder of Banza, pitching to the audience.

Demo Day was also a big success: Chobani’s Founder & CEO Hamdi Ulukaya and CMO Peter McGuinness delivered inspirational remarks to a packed house, including numerous investors and retailers. Each company presented a 5-minute pitch highlighting their accomplishments over the last six months and shared all the ways the amazing Chobani team has helped mentor them. The stats coming out of our first class are pretty exciting, including:

  • Distribution growth of more than 63% across the board
  • Combined total revenue of ~$3,000,000 in 2017 to date
  • Engaged more than 75 internal mentors and 55 external mentors in sales, marketing, communications, manufacturing operations and finance

The Incubator crew also chalked up key wins at Expo West, including:

  • Chops received product launch requests from 4 national grocery chains
  • Jar Goods fielded overwhelmingly positive feedback on 2 new products they launched at their booth
  • MISFIT Juicery received Nexty Editor’s Choice Award for Best New Beverage

Now that the first class has wrapped, we’re looking forward to sharing stories of their continued progress, developing a hub of resources on our site, further optimizing and improving our programming and mentor network and beginning the search for the next class of innovators to help us bring better food to more people.

In the meantime, check out this sneak peek at the first in a series of videos following the programming and progress of the last six months. Stay tuned for more episodes of the journey in the weeks to come!

tracy castro