Meet the Summer 2023 FFI Food Business Fellows!

The Food Finance Institute (FFI) recently welcomed the third and final cohort of businesses into its 2023 Fellows Program. This is year two of FFI’s Fellows Program and year seven of providing programming designed to accelerate food-focused business growth.

FFI’s Fellows Program serves 46 businesses, 31 of whom are from Wisconsin, in two food brand cohorts that run consecutively for two 6-month periods and one Technology, Agriculture and Processing (TAP) cohort that runs from April through September.

The second Food and Beverage cohort began in July and features 11 businesses from Wisconsin and five from across the nation.

  • American Hazelnut CompanyGays Mills, WI. Producer and distributor of Midwest-grown hazelnut products, including hazelnut oil, flour, kernels, and snacks.
  • American Wine Project Mineral Point, WI. Producer of artisan, low-intervention Wisconsin grape wines that rival (not mimic) wine styles from established wine regions.
  • Amu Nutrition Everett, WA. Tea company that uses a unique combination of ancient wisdom and modern nutrition to promote health and balance.
  • Garfield Produce CompanyWaukegan, IL. Wholesale food establishment that serves under-resourced neighborhoods by building sustainable wealth and creating employment while growing high-quality products.
  • Gold Coast Candy Appleton, WI. African-inspired candy company that produces all natural nut brittles.
  • Jake’s StrongGingerSheboygan, WI. Ginger juice company that brews with 100% Peruvian Fair-Trade Organic Ginger and fresh Lemons.
  • Kreative Fruitz by Imani RaiyneMilwaukee, WI. Fruit art company that encourages consumption of fruits and vegetables through creative presentations and unique fruit art experiences.
  • Madame Chu DelicaciesSun Prairie, WI. Condiment company that offers handcrafted products representing the authentic flavors and techniques of Southeast Asian cuisine.
  • Mandy’s Mood FoodsSun Prairie, WI. Hot sauce company that produces products with ingredients directly from local suppliers, completely raw and as fresh as possible.
  • Nan’s Naughty And Nice Bloody Mary Mix And Recipe BoostHudson, WI. Premium Bloody Mary mix company that seeks to elevate the experience of Bloody Mary enthusiasts and foodies everywhere.
  • Natural Spirits, LLCSun Prairie, WI. Spirits company that produces fruit and cream or honey-based spirits that are derived from local ingredients and natural flavors.
  • New Dairy Eastside JuiceryMadison, WI. Wholesome food company that produces cold-pressed organic juices, vegan bakery, and gluten free granola.
  • Nutraberry – Kenmore, WA. Food and beverage ingredients company that uses sustainable methods to produce super fruit and berry products.
  • Pastificio BoulderBoulder, CO. Pasta company that produces freshly milled pasta made from heirloom ancient grain wheat.
  • Spark + Honey – Boulder, CO. Snack foods company that produces snacks using clean, healthy ingredients, including short-baked granola.
  • Tasteful Events CateringBrookfield, WI. Catering company that provides creative dishes that satisfy the palate using house-made seasonings, sauces, brines, glazes, and marinades. 

The Fellows Program leads up to FFI’s Food Finance Forum, an annual event that showcases innovative food and farm businesses pitches, networking, and facilitated discussions on the food and farm investment landscape locally and across the nation. The 2023 Food Finance Forum: Crafting a Vision for the Next 10 Years of Food and Beverage will be held on Sept. 20 in Milwaukee, WI. Registration for the event is now open.

The Fellows Program, funded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), combines a modified version of FFI’s foundational financial management boot camp with one-on-one coaching calls and peer group meetings. The program is supported by FFI industry experts like TAG Finance and Accounting Outsourcing, Consolidated Construction Company, Eurofins (Food Safety), Supply One (Packaging), Ogden, Glazer, + Schaefer (Law), Catapult Commercialization Services, Summit Credit Union, Farm Credit and Compeer Financial.

FFI’s Fellows Accelerator program has worked with over 100 companies since 2015. As of 2022, 50 reporting companies, three years after programming, have attracted $1.1 million in grant funding, $11 million in debt funding and $17.5 million in equity funding. In addition, over those three years they have generated over $100 million in business/sales.

Read more about the overall Fellows program at

About Food Finance Institute

The Food Finance Institute (FFI) leverages and supports a collaborative network of professionals focused on building and funding profitable businesses in the food, beverage and value-added agriculture sector. Through training, coaching, resources, tools and mentorship, FFI fulfills its mission of making sophisticated financial technical assistance available to growing enterprises. In addition, FFI is the home of the Edible-Alpha® brand. Edible-Alpha® is a digital resource hub that includes the Edible-Alpha® podcast and our insights newsletter. FFI is part of the University of Wisconsin System’s Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship.