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PepsiCo, Hatchery Chicago Partner to Help Food Startups Grow

PepsiCo North America Nutrition (NAN) and food and beverage incubator The Hatchery Chicago have announced a partnership aimed at helping food industry entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses. The organizations hope to foster collaboration, the production of high quality, delicious products, and making more nutritious products available to more people in more places.

“I’m really excited about what we’re doing to make sure trusted nutrition choices are always within reach,” said Seth Kaufman, president of PepsiCo NAN. “One of the ways we do this is by collaborating with like-minded, nutrition-forward partners who provide great insight into the future of food and who can also benefit from our expertise and resources.”

The partnership seems well aligned with the goals of both PepsiCo NAN and The Hatchery Chicago. PepsiCo NAN was created to focus on PepsiCo’s portfolio of nutrition brands including Quaker, Tropicana, Naked, Near East and KeVita, as well as underscore the company’s Performance with Purpose agenda as it relates to continuing to transform its portfolio and “help people eat better every day.”

The Hatchery Chicago’s goal is to provide small businesses and entrepreneurs, many of which are focusing on the nutrition space, with the resources they need to best navigate and reach success in the food industry. The non-profit incubator’s new location is being built in the heart of East Garfield Park on the west side of Chicago, an underserved community and food desert. The Hatchery believes that by fostering the growth of local food and beverage companies, the community will have more access to nutritional foods and viable and sustainable job opportunities within the industry.

The partnership will include two-way mentorship between the organizations. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to receive insight from PepsiCo’s experts, while PepsiCo employees will be able to learn best practices from The Hatchery entrepreneur community on how to break down barriers to innovation and infuse startup problem solving into their business.

“Our network of entrepreneurs will greatly benefit from NAN's deep knowledge and expertise around things like go-to-market strategies as a means to reach greater distribution,” said Natalie Shmulik, CEO of The Hatchery Chicago. “The future is all about collaboration, and we couldn't be happier to have PepsiCo join our group of exceptional partners and resources. This is where real change will happen.”

The partnership is also part of NAN’s efforts to foster intrapreneurship, or encourage innovation among employees, by offering unique perspectives and exposure to new business models. Through shared learning opportunities with The Hatchery Chicago, PepsiCo hopes to encourage employees to think differently about their business and act more nimbly in today’s evolving food landscape.