- Chobani has revealed the six startups involved in its inaugural class for the Chobani Food Incubator, which it announced applications for for in July.
- The class includes Banza, CHOPS Snacks, Cisse Cocoa Co., JAR Goods, Kettle & Fire and Misfit Juicery.
- Chobani chose these six startups out of 400 applicants due to “their business ideas, shared values and commitment to provide better food for more people,” according to a news release.
Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya said in a statement that the inaugural six “have the potential and opportunity to really shake things up in their categories.” While any category might be ripe for disruption by startups, from cereal to dairy, these companies are positioned in categories particularly poised for innovation and in demand by consumers.
Banza, which raised $1.3 million in its first seed round last November, makes chickpea pasta that is a plant-based, better-for-you alternative to gluten-full pasta varieties. As certain consumers increasingly avoid wheat and products with gluten, veggie and pulse-based alternatives have risen to take their place. Pasta sales have taken a hit in recent years, but Banza offers consumers another option to enjoy their favorite pasta dishes along with additional health benefits.
Misfit Juicery specializes in cold-pressed juices made from mostly recovered fruits and vegetables that would otherwise have become food waste, such as trimming and scraps left over from making carrot sticks and watermelon cubes. Value-added produce is becoming more popular among consumers for its freshness and convenience. But the prep work can create large amounts of food waste, a problem the industry is trying to solve.
The rest of the companies span more of the same in terms of product categories that are enjoying a boost in demand and a renaissance in formulations and flavors: meat snacks, sustainably-sourced cocoa, jarred specialty foods and bone broth.