instore - March 2018 - 50

R&D

Investing in the Silicon Valley of food
by Donna Berry

M

anufacturing education. Production
space. Financial support. These are
some of the many resources that The Hatchery, Chicago's food and beverage non-profit
incubator, offers entrepreneurs. Working
closely with the less-than-a-year-old Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network, a nonprofit functioning as a networking platform
to bring both big and small Chicagolandbased food and beverage companies together to work as a community, the two organizations are attracting industry suppliers and
investors who are viewing Chicago as the
Silicon Valley of food.
In January, Ingredion Inc., Westchester, Illinois, partnered with The Hatchery as part of
its emerging business initiative that the ingredient supplier launched to help start-up
food and beverage companies turn innovative ideas into on-trend, scalable, food and
beverage products. Ingredion's partnership
with The Hatchery connects the company
with the local food and beverage community
while helping to empower entrepreneurs
with Ingredion's customer-centric innovative ingredient solutions, deep food and
beverage product development expertise,
market insights and new emerging business
e-commerce platform. Ingredion will work
with The Hatchery to offer classes, webinars
and a mentorship program to Chicago-area
entrepreneurs.

"The industry is evolving, and our partnership with The Hatchery demonstrates our
dedication to supporting the food and beverage entrepreneurial community," says
Evan Hyman, director of emerging business
at Ingredion. "It is an avenue for us to help
start-up companies emerge faster and reach
their full potential with innovative food and
beverage products in demand by today's
consumers."
The mission of The Hatchery is to enable
local food and beverage entrepreneurs
to build and grow successful businesses
through three major areas of need: access to
production space, financing and resources.
The Hatchery recently broke ground on a
67,000-square-foot facility in the East Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago that will
house 75 to 100 food entrepreneurs.
At an innovation breakfast meeting hosted
by The Hatchery and the Chicagoland Food
& Beverage Network on Feb. 8, a number of
entrepreneurs shared their stories with how
The Hatchery provided them with the tools
to bring their passions to markets.
Rumi Spice, for example, was founded by
Emily Miller, Kim Jung and Keith Alaniz,
who all served in the military in Afghanistan.
They learned that the war-torn country is
abundant in the purple-flowering plant that
yields saffron, one of the most expensive
spices in the world. They also learned that
Afghani saffron is some of the best quality
saffron in the world.
"We wanted to introduce American consumers to quality spices," Mr. Alaniz says. "Saffron has historically been of very poor quality in the U.S. Not anymore."
To bring more business and more money to
the farmers in Afghanistan, Rumi Spice built
an infrastructure to sell saffron harvested
in Afghanistan to U.S. consumers. The company employs more than 300 women to hand
harvest the stigmas of flowers that then get
dried and made into spice.

Foodservice entrepreneurs can use The
Hatchery's facilities. Photo: The Hatchery

50 * MARCH 2018 * commissary INSIDER

The company started out selling saffron

to fine-dining chefs, with one ounce going
for about $140. Small bottles of the spice,
which are making their way into retail, will
sell for about $35 and cost $8.30 to make, as
the company detailed in May 2017 when the
three co-founders appeared on "Shark Tank"
and received a $250,000 investment for 15
percent equity. With that investment, and
assistance from The Hatchery, the company
has plans to expand beyond saffron to spice
blends, tea and jam.
Award-winning journalist-turned-cookbook
author Anupy Singla shared her journey
that led to the creation of Indian as Apple
Pie. This new line of Indian sauces, spices
and pulses are making their debut in select
Chicago Whole Foods Market locations and
other specialty stores.
Foodservice entrepreneurs also may find
The Hatchery's resources useful. Alan Moy,
a banker-turned-food entrepreneur, for example, is the owner of Viet Nom Nom, a Vietnamese food concept. The company started
out as a catering business for Northwestern
University, Evanston, Illinois, and recently
opened a quick-service restaurant with fresh
grab-and-go items, including bowl meals,
salads and spring rolls. Moy is working on
a line of retail products, with plans to roll
out its locally crafted organic peanut sauce
soon.
Many major food companies, including
Johnsonville, Kellogg Co., Kraft Heinz, Mars
Wrigley and Tyson, have innovation centers
in the Chicagoland area. In addition to developing their own pipeline of products, these
companies are working closely with many of
the entrepreneurs affiliated with The Hatchery. All of this combined innovation is helping Chicago return to its roots as the hub
of food manufacturing in the United States.
This time around, many of the end products
are more premium and specialty. They are
more than blue-box macaroni and cheese.
"We believe growth will come from smart
start-ups," says Alan Reed, executive director of the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network. "Lots of cool things are happening."



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of instore - March 2018

instore - March 2018
Need to Know - Dabates and definitions
Spotlight - By the numbers
Merchandising - Branded baked goods
Specialty Insights - Organic deli products
Cover Story - Bi-Rite Market's Sam Mogannam
Commissary Insider
Insight Insider - Bi-Rite commissary
Equipment - Pizza Production
Food Safety - Allergen detection
Packaging - Grab 'n Go grabs market share
R&D - Investing in the Silicon Valley of food
Equipment & Packaging - Latest innovation: Frying technology
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instore - March 2018 - 7
instore - March 2018 - Need to Know - Dabates and definitions
instore - March 2018 - 9
instore - March 2018 - Spotlight - By the numbers
instore - March 2018 - 11
instore - March 2018 - Merchandising - Branded baked goods
instore - March 2018 - 13
instore - March 2018 - 14
instore - March 2018 - 15
instore - March 2018 - Specialty Insights - Organic deli products
instore - March 2018 - 17
instore - March 2018 - 18
instore - March 2018 - 19
instore - March 2018 - Cover Story - Bi-Rite Market's Sam Mogannam
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instore - March 2018 - Insight Insider - Bi-Rite commissary
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instore - March 2018 - Equipment - Pizza Production
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instore - March 2018 - Food Safety - Allergen detection
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instore - March 2018 - Packaging - Grab 'n Go grabs market share
instore - March 2018 - 47
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instore - March 2018 - R&D - Investing in the Silicon Valley of food
instore - March 2018 - 51
instore - March 2018 - Equipment & Packaging - Latest innovation: Frying technology
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