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Chicago is a leader in global food innovation, from stockyards to plant-based protein

Chicago is a leader in global food innovation, from stockyards to plant-based protein


High interest rates and stubborn inflation are causing some large companies to refrain from making big investment decisions, Mr. Kuriacose said. He believes that by connecting investors with early-stage entrepreneurs actively seeking funding, Future Food Week will encourage further investment in local food startups and help early-stage companies boost the economy. We hope that this will help weather the current headwinds.

This is a sector that Chicago has a right to win in, Kuriacose said.

global hub

International participation from investors and large corporations at World Business Chicago's startup-focused summit has increased year over year, Mr. Kuriacose said. This gives participating startups, the majority of which are based in Chicago, the opportunity to interact with an important global market.

That's one of the reasons the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago chose to co-sponsor Future Food Week.

Saeed Sameer Ahmed, Consul General of Canada, one of the world's largest food producers and one of the leading developers of the future of food, told Chicago Global. He cited Canada's plant-based protein sector as a particular strength.

We have expertise there and would love to share, he added.

Protein Industries Canada, a $173 million industry-led consortium of plant-based protein producers participating in Future-of-Food Week, announced that Canada's plant-based food sales and ingredient manufacturing will be between $1.8 billion and $2.5 billion. It's a dollar market, he told Chicago Global. The group advocates expanding Canada's food processing industry to $18 billion.

Ahmed points out that with billions of dollars of trade crossing the U.S.-Canada border every day, the two countries' food and beverage supply and distribution chains are closely linked.

It's one of the big markets in North America that's being talked about, he said. It's an integrated industry.

The Consulate General of Canada told Chicago Global that Chicago's food accelerator is contributing to the growth of several Canadian startups, including Stellar Eats and Sociavore. This week, Canadian companies, including those working on autonomous cooks and restaurant brand management tools, will participate in pitch sessions at the Future of Food Startup Day.

Mr. Kuriakose said international participants recognized that Chicago has a rapidly growing startup ecosystem.

Food startups aren't just for Silicon Valley, he said, they're also for Chicago.




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