The Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference, presented by FamilyFarmed and its Good Food Accelerator, will be held on Tuesday, June 19 at the Morgan Manufacturing event space. The Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference, now in its eighth year, is the Midwest’s premiere event for thought leaders, innovators, stakeholders and entrepreneurs to learn, connect, cultivate ideas and drive innovation for Chicago’s booming Good Food landscape. Businesses that have participated in past conferences have raised more than $50 million in capital!
Meet our Contestants!
Judges Choice Contestants: 6-minute live pitches
Almondaire is one of the first dairy-free cream liqueurs. It is also a gluten-free and vegan product. It provides a smooth, creamy, delicious experience that you can share with your friends and family. Almondaire’s flavor stands up to any liqueur on flavor — and it has 44 percent fewer calories than traditional cream liqueurs. It is available in six states and 397 on- and off-premise locations, and has won more than a dozen tasting awards. Almondaire’s recipe was built on the belief that a great-tasting drink should be accessible to everyone.
Beanstalk, LLC’s plant-based protein and snacking platform includes four innovative branded food companies, supported by a shared services backbone. These companies are Mozaics, LLC (organic popped veggie & potato chips), Handfulls (CrrrunchBites & Fusions innovative nut snacks), Hope & Sesame, LLC (super-seed sesame-based non-dairy milks, creamers and sesame butter), and Copious Brands (plant-based portions that pair with fresh fruit & veggies and increase produce sales). Beanstalk creates next-stage innovative brands in hot categories with fast turns at retail and lots of alternative distribution opportunities, which act as marketing vehicles and support an omnichannel distribution approach.
Departure Snacks creates globally inspired snacks that nourish your daily grind. They highlight international spice blends inspired by global travel, as an alternative to conventional American flavors. All of Departure Snacks’ products are all natural and clean-label. Its first product line is internationally spiced dry-roasted almonds in Argentinian Chimichurri, Ethiopian Berbere and Mediterranean Za’atar flavors. The company was created to fulfill the unmet demand in the market for more ethnic snacks and creates shared value through travel and wellness. They spend their days dreaming of their next getaway and their nights telling stories of adventures past, but the truth is, their jobs, families and everyday responsibilities keep them tethered to one place. That’s the case for many people, and that’s why they created Departure Snacks. By adding adventure to your routine, they ensure that every day is filled with travel, even if it’s just your local commute.
Finger Lake Fish
Finger Lakes Fish is an early-stage company building one of the largest land-based platforms to grow Coho salmon — meeting the high and rising demand for clean, sustainable, and traceable fish. Finger Lakes Fish is using new and efficient MxCell® RAS (recirculating aquaculture) technology developed by their Chief Cornell Scientist and Biologist. This low-cost system delivers a strong margin in the growing sustainable protein category. Based in the upstate New York region for which it is named, Finger Lakes Fish is expanding to Chicago and the Midwest in 2019.
Inspired by a favorite family recipe, Frönen is a non-dairy “nice cream’”made with ingredients you know and understand. Inside every pint, bananas create a creamy base for a guilt-free indulgence. Because Frönen is made with only a handful of ingredients, it contains a fraction of the calories, sugar and fat of other ice creams. Whether you have allergies or simply want to live the sweet life guilt-free, Frönen is the perfect choice! Based in Chicago, Frönen — which translates to “indulge” in German — is available in strawberry, chocolate, cinnamon and banana coconut flavors.
Lil’ Gourmets strives to be the guilt-free baby food option for parents seeking tasty, healthy meals that instill good food values in their children from infancy. This startup’s mission is to spread the joy of seeing babies discover new flavors with nutritious, organic, flavorful meals they love eating and you love serving. Designed to help expand babies’ palates and teach them that vegetables are yummy, Lil’ Gourmets starts with unique vegetable combos and adds a hint of complex spice blends to create flavorful baby food without overusing fruit. Their products are high pressure pasteurized (HPP) and refrigerated to ensure safety without sacrificing nutrients or flavor. The end result is a delicious, clean-ingredient product with no added sugar or salt.
Moon Meals creates plant-based meals containing their proprietary vegan meats, cheeses and sauces, and provides them to major retailers and foodservice operators. The company uses only the finest ingredients, and tries to use ingredients that are local and organic. Moon Meals’ products have been featured in the “grab & go” delis of Chicago-area major retailers such as Whole Foods Market, Jewel-Osco (a division of Albertsons) and Mariano’s (a division of Kroger). Look for Moon Meals’ delicious, vegan Fiesta Wrap™! The founder of Moon Meals succeeded in using food to reclaim his health after growing up in poverty in Chicago, and the company’s mission is to make delicious, healthy plant-based meals more accessible to everyone.
Ready to BRANDS
Ready to BRANDS (RTB) makes innovative, “closer to nature” solutions to everyday ailments. By combining the best organic ingredients with scientific evidence, the company develops clean and effective products that will have you “Ready to” take on whatever life has in store. Their first product, “Ready to Ease,” is a ready-to -freeze ice pop/liquid shot delivering fast, holistic nausea relief along with naturally sourced electrolytes. “Ready to Ease” addresses an immediate need for clean and effective nausea relief. Ready to Ease” delivers holistic nausea relief to a variety of users, including (but not limited to) those suffering from motion sickness, sea sickness, tension headaches/migraines, hangovers, morning sickness and stomach bugs. It is child-safe and USDA Organic. With no plans to stop at nausea, RTB is building a wall of category-leading natural remedies to meet consumers shifting preference towards more holistic forms of relief.
TeaSquares creates caffeinated energy snacks, made with organic tea, for energy and focus to help people fuel their passions. Each bite-size square is light and airy, packed with wholesome puffed millet, crunchy almonds and flavorful fruits. Available in three flavors — Acai Blueberry, Vanilla Chai and Citrus Green Tea Matcha — and now available in a single-serve size, Tea Squares are perfect as a morning energizer or a midday pick-me-up. The company is located in the Englewood community on Chicago’s South Side and exercises its social mission to fuel economic development in urban communities through its fellowship program that teaches job and business skills to young people from underserved communities.
Audience Choice Video Pitch Contestants!