Industry Buzz

15 of Chicago's Hottest Emerging Food and Beverage Companies

15 of Chicago’s Hottest Emerging Food and Beverage Companies

15 of Chicago's Hottest Emerging Food and Beverage Companies

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Back in the late 1800’s food entrepreneurs moved to Chicago to talk advantage of its geocentric US location, its proximity to the heartland, and its best in class transportation options. Aside from many visitors dreading their time at O'Hare, not much has changed in over 200 years.

Thousands of food and beverage companies, especially the manufacturing variety, call Chicago home. Food stalwarts like Mars Wrigley, Mondelez, and Conagra are headquartered here, while many others, including Tyson Foods and Kellogg, have a huge presence in the Second City.

Despite the big food shadow, recent years have solidified Chicago as a sanctuary for some of today’s hottest emerging new foods brands.

Success stories like RxBar, Vital Proteins and Simple Mills, obviously come to mind, however, the 15 companies on this map have gotten an affirmative answer to the old "will it play in Peoria" question. So get to know ’em, and let us know if there’s a Chicago-centered startup you think we should get to know.

*Please click to enlarge*

Did we miss any Chicago-based food startups you think are worthy of a feature? Give them a shout in the comments or on Instagram!

Skinny Souping (@skinnysouping): Ready-to-drink soups

Simple ingredients like fresh vegetables and spices and no preservatives or additives is all it takes to create Skinny Souping’s sippable, on-the-go soups. Available in bold, on-trend flavors like Carrot Lentil Turmeric, Butternut Squash Coconut Curry and Red Pepper Chickpea Basil, find their soups online and in select retailers nationwide.

Quavos (@eatquavos): Egg white-based chips

As a Type I diabetic, the founder behind this egg white-based protein chip brand was inspired to create a lower carbohydrate alternative to one of his favorite snacks: the classic potato chip. Two years of experimenting in the kitchen led to a successful Kickstarter campaign. Get more Quevos buzz on their site and expect to see their product on store shelves soon.

Poppilu (@drinkpoppilu): Antioxidant lemonades

Tart, tangy, antioxidant-rich and low on sugar? That’s the Poppilu promise. This health-forward lemonade brand infuses its drinks with Midwest aronia berries to give it added nutrients and the trademark pink color. Find their bottles in a growing number of grocers across the country.

Fronen (@eatfronen): Dairy-free frozen desserts

Made with just a handful of ingredients (literally, you can count them on one hand), and sweetened with natural sweeteners like maple syrup and honey, this frozen dessert brand prides itself on being free of top allergens like dairy and gluten. Find their pints in stores nationwide or order online.

Chomps (@chomps): Meat-based protein snacks

Simple snacks made with high quality, sustainably-sourced ingredients is Chomps’ core belief. Popularity among communities like Whole30, keto and paleo has led to tremendous growth in retailers like Amazon, Trader Joes and Walmart, and has secured the brand a spot on the Inc. Magazine 5000 list… #62 to be exact!

Co-op Sauce (@coophotsauce): Hot sauce

Co-op Sauce partners with Midwest farmers to produce its diverse and exotic hot sauces, while raising money to support youth arts and entrepreneurship programs in the Chicago area. Shop their range of sauce here.

Seasons Sparkling (@seasonssparkling): Sparkling water

Plant-based ingredients are used to create aromatic, refreshing and balanced drinks. In an effort to bring awareness to local arts, Seasons partners with artists to present their work on the brand’s cans. Get more information on the brand, its initiatives and range of flavors here.

Central Pickling (@centralpickling): Pickled vegetables

Made in a shared kitchen space in the heart of Chicago, and using locally sourced, organic ingredients, Central Pickling’s products can be found in a number of retailers in and around the Chicago area.

Tea Squares (@myteasquares): Caffeinated energy snacks

Tea Squares is on a mission to make energizing snacks that are nutritious and sustainable while creating economic development in low-income neighborhoods through its fellowship and mentorship program. Learn more about their story here, and try their tea-infused snacks (Vanilla Chia is a must!) by ordering through their online shop.

Lil Bucks (@lovelilbucks): Sprouted buckwheat snacks

An acai bowl enjoyed on an Australian beach is what led the founder behind this snack brand to go all in on sprouted buckwheat. Launched in April 2018, Lil Bucks is committed to promoting sustainable farming practices. Learn more about buckwheat, its uses and impact on the environment here, and order some Lil Bucks products to try!

Blake's Seed Based (@blakesseedbased): Seed and fruit-based bars

After growing up with a deathly nut allergy and limited snack options, Blake Sorensen started Blake’s Seed Based with the goal of offering products that everyone can enjoy. Blake’s seed-based bars are free of 8 common allergens and are available in flavors like Blueberry Lemon, S’mores and even Chocolate Mint! Order online or find ‘em in retailers nationwide.

Upton's Naturals (@uptonsnaturals): Vegan-focused products

Independently-owned and operated, Upton’s Naturals was born in 2006 with its seitan-based meat alternatives. Today the company sells a range of vegan-focused products including jerkies, meal kits, mac and cheese and the ever-popular jackfruit. Find them in retailers like Whole Foods and Target nationwide.

Better Blends (@getbetterblends): Blend-at-home smoothie kits

Blendable, better-for-you and delicious. Better Blends uses organic ingredients to create blend-at-home smoothie kits available in refreshing flavors like Mint & Cacao, Blueberry & Matcha, Apple & Pear and more. Available at select retailers around the Chicago metro area.

Vinyl Cold Brew (@drinkvinylcoldbrew): Craft cold brew coffee

This up-and-coming hand crafted Chicago cold brew has been energizing some of the big gaming and hospitality groups in the city of late, so keep your eye on them.

Maker Oats (@makeroats): Organic overnight oats

Imagine a convenient, mess-free breakfast that can be eaten on the go? Maker Oats is making that possible with its organic overnight oat products. Just add milk or nut milk, stir and soak overnight. Made with simple ingredients and no added sugars, Maker’s is currently available in three flavors: Apple Coconut, Banana Coffee and Mulberry Chia.

Located in Chicago and thinking of launching a food and beverage business? Turn to these resources in and around the city to help you in your entrepreneurial adventure.

Resources and shared kitchen spaces:

Accelerator programs:

Mark your calendars, here are some hot upcoming events coming to Chicago in 2020:

Do you have a Chicago-based food startup you think we should know about? Send ’em our way!

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[et_bloom_locked optin_id="optin_10"]

Back in the late 1800’s food entrepreneurs moved to Chicago to talk advantage of its geocentric US location, its proximity to the heartland, and its best in class transportation options. Aside from many visitors dreading their time at O'Hare, not much has changed in over 200 years.

Thousands of food and beverage companies, especially the manufacturing variety, call Chicago home. Food stalwarts like Mars Wrigley, Mondelez, and Conagra are headquartered here, while many others, including Tyson Foods and Kellogg, have a huge presence in the Second City.

Despite the big food shadow, recent years have solidified Chicago as a sanctuary for some of today’s hottest emerging new foods brands.

Success stories like RxBar, Vital Proteins and Simple Mills, obviously come to mind, however, the 15 companies on this map have gotten an affirmative answer to the old "will it play in Peoria" question. So get to know ’em, and let us know if there’s a Chicago-centered startup you think we should get to know.

*Please click to enlarge*

Did we miss any Chicago-based food startups you think are worthy of a feature? Give them a shout in the comments or on Instagram!

Skinny Souping (@skinnysouping): Ready-to-drink soups

Simple ingredients like fresh vegetables and spices and no preservatives or additives is all it takes to create Skinny Souping’s sippable, on-the-go soups. Available in bold, on-trend flavors like Carrot Lentil Turmeric, Butternut Squash Coconut Curry and Red Pepper Chickpea Basil, find their soups online and in select retailers nationwide.

Quavos (@eatquavos): Egg white-based chips

As a Type I diabetic, the founder behind this egg white-based protein chip brand was inspired to create a lower carbohydrate alternative to one of his favorite snacks: the classic potato chip. Two years of experimenting in the kitchen led to a successful Kickstarter campaign. Get more Quevos buzz on their site and expect to see their product on store shelves soon.

Poppilu (@drinkpoppilu): Antioxidant lemonades

Tart, tangy, antioxidant-rich and low on sugar? That’s the Poppilu promise. This health-forward lemonade brand infuses its drinks with Midwest aronia berries to give it added nutrients and the trademark pink color. Find their bottles in a growing number of grocers across the country.

Fronen (@eatfronen): Dairy-free frozen desserts

Made with just a handful of ingredients (literally, you can count them on one hand), and sweetened with natural sweeteners like maple syrup and honey, this frozen dessert brand prides itself on being free of top allergens like dairy and gluten. Find their pints in stores nationwide or order online.

Chomps (@chomps): Meat-based protein snacks

Simple snacks made with high quality, sustainably-sourced ingredients is Chomps’ core belief. Popularity among communities like Whole30, keto and paleo has led to tremendous growth in retailers like Amazon, Trader Joes and Walmart, and has secured the brand a spot on the Inc. Magazine 5000 list… #62 to be exact!

Co-op Sauce (@coophotsauce): Hot sauce

Co-op Sauce partners with Midwest farmers to produce its diverse and exotic hot sauces, while raising money to support youth arts and entrepreneurship programs in the Chicago area. Shop their range of sauce here.

Seasons Sparkling (@seasonssparkling): Sparkling water

Plant-based ingredients are used to create aromatic, refreshing and balanced drinks. In an effort to bring awareness to local arts, Seasons partners with artists to present their work on the brand’s cans. Get more information on the brand, its initiatives and range of flavors here.

Central Pickling (@centralpickling): Pickled vegetables

Made in a shared kitchen space in the heart of Chicago, and using locally sourced, organic ingredients, Central Pickling’s products can be found in a number of retailers in and around the Chicago area.

Tea Squares (@myteasquares): Caffeinated energy snacks

Tea Squares is on a mission to make energizing snacks that are nutritious and sustainable while creating economic development in low-income neighborhoods through its fellowship and mentorship program. Learn more about their story here, and try their tea-infused snacks (Vanilla Chia is a must!) by ordering through their online shop.

Lil Bucks (@lovelilbucks): Sprouted buckwheat snacks

An acai bowl enjoyed on an Australian beach is what led the founder behind this snack brand to go all in on sprouted buckwheat. Launched in April 2018, Lil Bucks is committed to promoting sustainable farming practices. Learn more about buckwheat, its uses and impact on the environment here, and order some Lil Bucks products to try!

Blake's Seed Based (@blakesseedbased): Seed and fruit-based bars

After growing up with a deathly nut allergy and limited snack options, Blake Sorensen started Blake’s Seed Based with the goal of offering products that everyone can enjoy. Blake’s seed-based bars are free of 8 common allergens and are available in flavors like Blueberry Lemon, S’mores and even Chocolate Mint! Order online or find ‘em in retailers nationwide.

Upton's Naturals (@uptonsnaturals): Vegan-focused products

Independently-owned and operated, Upton’s Naturals was born in 2006 with its seitan-based meat alternatives. Today the company sells a range of vegan-focused products including jerkies, meal kits, mac and cheese and the ever-popular jackfruit. Find them in retailers like Whole Foods and Target nationwide.

Better Blends (@getbetterblends): Blend-at-home smoothie kits

Blendable, better-for-you and delicious. Better Blends uses organic ingredients to create blend-at-home smoothie kits available in refreshing flavors like Mint & Cacao, Blueberry & Matcha, Apple & Pear and more. Available at select retailers around the Chicago metro area.

Vinyl Cold Brew (@drinkvinylcoldbrew): Craft cold brew coffee

This up-and-coming hand crafted Chicago cold brew has been energizing some of the big gaming and hospitality groups in the city of late, so keep your eye on them.

Maker Oats (@makeroats): Organic overnight oats

Imagine a convenient, mess-free breakfast that can be eaten on the go? Maker Oats is making that possible with its organic overnight oat products. Just add milk or nut milk, stir and soak overnight. Made with simple ingredients and no added sugars, Maker’s is currently available in three flavors: Apple Coconut, Banana Coffee and Mulberry Chia.

Located in Chicago and thinking of launching a food and beverage business? Turn to these resources in and around the city to help you in your entrepreneurial adventure.

Resources and shared kitchen spaces:

Accelerator programs:

Mark your calendars, here are some hot upcoming events coming to Chicago in 2020:

Do you have a Chicago-based food startup you think we should know about? Send ’em our way!

[/et_bloom_locked]

[et_bloom_locked optin_id="optin_10"]

Back in the late 1800’s food entrepreneurs moved to Chicago to talk advantage of its geocentric US location, its proximity to the heartland, and its best in class transportation options. Aside from many visitors dreading their time at O'Hare, not much has changed in over 200 years.

Thousands of food and beverage companies, especially the manufacturing variety, call Chicago home. Food stalwarts like Mars Wrigley, Mondelez, and Conagra are headquartered here, while many others, including Tyson Foods and Kellogg, have a huge presence in the Second City.

Despite the big food shadow, recent years have solidified Chicago as a sanctuary for some of today’s hottest emerging new foods brands.

Success stories like RxBar, Vital Proteins and Simple Mills, obviously come to mind, however, the 15 companies on this map have gotten an affirmative answer to the old "will it play in Peoria" question. So get to know ’em, and let us know if there’s a Chicago-centered startup you think we should get to know.

*Please click to enlarge*

Did we miss any Chicago-based food startups you think are worthy of a feature? Give them a shout in the comments or on Instagram!

Skinny Souping (@skinnysouping): Ready-to-drink soups

Simple ingredients like fresh vegetables and spices and no preservatives or additives is all it takes to create Skinny Souping’s sippable, on-the-go soups. Available in bold, on-trend flavors like Carrot Lentil Turmeric, Butternut Squash Coconut Curry and Red Pepper Chickpea Basil, find their soups online and in select retailers nationwide.

Quavos (@eatquavos): Egg white-based chips

As a Type I diabetic, the founder behind this egg white-based protein chip brand was inspired to create a lower carbohydrate alternative to one of his favorite snacks: the classic potato chip. Two years of experimenting in the kitchen led to a successful Kickstarter campaign. Get more Quevos buzz on their site and expect to see their product on store shelves soon.

Poppilu (@drinkpoppilu): Antioxidant lemonades

Tart, tangy, antioxidant-rich and low on sugar? That’s the Poppilu promise. This health-forward lemonade brand infuses its drinks with Midwest aronia berries to give it added nutrients and the trademark pink color. Find their bottles in a growing number of grocers across the country.

Fronen (@eatfronen): Dairy-free frozen desserts

Made with just a handful of ingredients (literally, you can count them on one hand), and sweetened with natural sweeteners like maple syrup and honey, this frozen dessert brand prides itself on being free of top allergens like dairy and gluten. Find their pints in stores nationwide or order online.

Chomps (@chomps): Meat-based protein snacks

Simple snacks made with high quality, sustainably-sourced ingredients is Chomps’ core belief. Popularity among communities like Whole30, keto and paleo has led to tremendous growth in retailers like Amazon, Trader Joes and Walmart, and has secured the brand a spot on the Inc. Magazine 5000 list… #62 to be exact!

Co-op Sauce (@coophotsauce): Hot sauce

Co-op Sauce partners with Midwest farmers to produce its diverse and exotic hot sauces, while raising money to support youth arts and entrepreneurship programs in the Chicago area. Shop their range of sauce here.

Seasons Sparkling (@seasonssparkling): Sparkling water

Plant-based ingredients are used to create aromatic, refreshing and balanced drinks. In an effort to bring awareness to local arts, Seasons partners with artists to present their work on the brand’s cans. Get more information on the brand, its initiatives and range of flavors here.

Central Pickling (@centralpickling): Pickled vegetables

Made in a shared kitchen space in the heart of Chicago, and using locally sourced, organic ingredients, Central Pickling’s products can be found in a number of retailers in and around the Chicago area.

Tea Squares (@myteasquares): Caffeinated energy snacks

Tea Squares is on a mission to make energizing snacks that are nutritious and sustainable while creating economic development in low-income neighborhoods through its fellowship and mentorship program. Learn more about their story here, and try their tea-infused snacks (Vanilla Chia is a must!) by ordering through their online shop.

Lil Bucks (@lovelilbucks): Sprouted buckwheat snacks

An acai bowl enjoyed on an Australian beach is what led the founder behind this snack brand to go all in on sprouted buckwheat. Launched in April 2018, Lil Bucks is committed to promoting sustainable farming practices. Learn more about buckwheat, its uses and impact on the environment here, and order some Lil Bucks products to try!

Blake's Seed Based (@blakesseedbased): Seed and fruit-based bars

After growing up with a deathly nut allergy and limited snack options, Blake Sorensen started Blake’s Seed Based with the goal of offering products that everyone can enjoy. Blake’s seed-based bars are free of 8 common allergens and are available in flavors like Blueberry Lemon, S’mores and even Chocolate Mint! Order online or find ‘em in retailers nationwide.

Upton's Naturals (@uptonsnaturals): Vegan-focused products

Independently-owned and operated, Upton’s Naturals was born in 2006 with its seitan-based meat alternatives. Today the company sells a range of vegan-focused products including jerkies, meal kits, mac and cheese and the ever-popular jackfruit. Find them in retailers like Whole Foods and Target nationwide.

Better Blends (@getbetterblends): Blend-at-home smoothie kits

Blendable, better-for-you and delicious. Better Blends uses organic ingredients to create blend-at-home smoothie kits available in refreshing flavors like Mint & Cacao, Blueberry & Matcha, Apple & Pear and more. Available at select retailers around the Chicago metro area.

Vinyl Cold Brew (@drinkvinylcoldbrew): Craft cold brew coffee

This up-and-coming hand crafted Chicago cold brew has been energizing some of the big gaming and hospitality groups in the city of late, so keep your eye on them.

Maker Oats (@makeroats): Organic overnight oats

Imagine a convenient, mess-free breakfast that can be eaten on the go? Maker Oats is making that possible with its organic overnight oat products. Just add milk or nut milk, stir and soak overnight. Made with simple ingredients and no added sugars, Maker’s is currently available in three flavors: Apple Coconut, Banana Coffee and Mulberry Chia.

Located in Chicago and thinking of launching a food and beverage business? Turn to these resources in and around the city to help you in your entrepreneurial adventure.

Resources and shared kitchen spaces:

Accelerator programs:

Mark your calendars, here are some hot upcoming events coming to Chicago in 2020:

Do you have a Chicago-based food startup you think we should know about? Send ’em our way!

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