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The Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network Launches, Driving Industry Growth
New organization to spur innovation and economic development within the region
Chicago, IL – April 4, 2017 – The Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network launches today. This newly formed nonprofit brings together the region’s food & beverage leaders to collaborate and drive economic growth – both in the industry and for neighborhoods across Chicagoland.
“We believe that a growing, innovative food & beverage industry is vital to a prosperous Chicago metro area. We are launching with a clear focus on fostering innovation, collaboration and growth among Chicagoland’s diverse group of food & beverage industry companies,” said Alan Reed, Executive Director of the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network.
A group of industry leaders and innovators is gathering today at Kendall College to discuss the future of this food and beverage cluster organization. The event is hosted by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and World Business Chicago. They will discuss business and economic development opportunities in areas including: workforce development, food safety, innovation and business services.
The event features keynote speaker Giacomo Fallucca, CEO of Palermo’s Pizza and a founding member of FaB Wisconsin, the state's food & beverage cluster organization. Mr. Fallucca will discuss how FaB Wisconsin drives their local food economy and helps Wisconsin companies innovate to meet the changing needs of consumers.
With approximately 4,500 companies, 130,000 employees and $32B in annual sales, Chicago area’s food & beverage industry represents a significant part of our regional economy. Chicago’s food and beverage industry is the second largest economic cluster of its kind in the U.S.
“Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network brings a strategic mission to a key sector of our regional economy,” Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Theresa E. Mintle said. “Chicago has been a hub for food production and distribution in three centuries. This new vision for collaboration across the modern supply chain, plus stakeholders from colleges to city neighborhoods, could help create the next great era in innovation and opportunity.
“In terms of economic development, Chicago’s food & beverage industry is uniquely positioned for inclusive job growth,” said World Business Chicago President & CEO Jeff Malehorn. “Chicago has historically been a leading city in the food industry. So, whether it’s in urban agriculture or distribution and logistics, we want that innovation to continue.”
The Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network is now accepting member applications. Membership is available to enterprises ranging from early-stage F&B entrepreneurs to large, established companies. Membership benefits include: access to industry events, affiliate discounts, Network Concierge Services, and support services designed to guide innovation and accelerate company growth.
With initial funding from the MacArthur Foundation and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network’s founding industry partners include: World Business Chicago, The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Cook County, Family Farmed, Industrial Corridor of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC), Instituto del Progreso Latino, and the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Institute for Food Safety & Health, the Chicago section of the Institute of Food Technologists, as well as leadership from a cross section of food & beverage companies in the region.
For more information, visit www.chicagolandfood.org and follow @chgofood on Twitter.
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