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Monash launches A$3m food incubator

Chobani launches Food Incubator at Monash University's FIC to drive food innovation

Monash launches A$3m food incubator

Chobani founder & CEO Hamdi Ulukaya with Monash University director of food & agriculture innovation Nicholas George

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Greek yoghurt producer Chobani has launched an incubator programme at the Monash University Food Innovation Centre's (FIC) new A$3m facilty.

The four month 'Chobani Food Incubator' will offer early stage companies and start-ups a A$10,000 grant each to accelerate the development of innovative food products and offer the companies access to the state-of-the art facilities at the FIC.

The new facilities include high-tech kitchens, a scale-up lab and a collaborative lounge, with the Chobani Food Incubator based on the programme of the same name launched in the US to help companies break into the food industry.

CEO and founder of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya, was on hand at the official launch of the Chobani Food Incubator at the FIC in Melbourne.

“There’s never been a better time to be a food entrepreneur—in Australia or around the world,” Ulukaya said. “Natural food start-ups with the right mindset can change categories, challenge the big guys and make a big difference in their communities. I love what’s happening with food start-ups here in Australia and want to share we've learned when it comes to scaling and fighting convention, like we’ve done with our other incubator programmes.

“This is a no-strings-attached, grant-based program to support entrepreneurs so we can further fuel the food revolution.”

Monash director of food & agriculture, Nicolas Georges, said the Chobani Food Incubator also helped position the university as a “leading ecosystem of innovation for the future of food and agriculture”.

“It is a huge benefit for the food sector and the state of Victoria as it becomes a hub for the food industry entrepreneurs to connect and develop the foods of the future,” he said.

“We know nine out of ten new food products in the fast-moving consumer goods segment fail. By using Monash facilities and expertise, businesses can triple or quadruple their likely success rate and, at the very least, avoid expensive mistakes by identifying problems earlier rather than later.”

Entries for the Chobani Food Incubator will open in October, with the class running from February to April 2018.

Chobani is the first client to use the new facilities, co-designed by Monash stakeholders and external partners including Mariljohn and DesignInc.

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