Food Foundry Accelerator Announces Fifth Cohort of Early-Stage Foodservice Startups


CHICAGO, IL, January 20, 2023 – Food Foundry, an accelerator program built by Relish Works and Gordon Food Service for early-stage startups disrupting the food and foodservice industry, announces the five startups that will join their fifth cohort starting in January 2023.

The Food Foundry program is designed to support, connect, and propel innovative startups that are disrupting the way food is moved and consumed. Prior cohorts focused on restaurant technology and food and beverage products, but in celebration of its fifth year, Food Foundry broadened its scope to include any early-stage company creating unique and innovative solutions across the foodservice value chain.

“For 125 years, Gordon Food Service has empowered and encouraged our teams to impact and shape the future of foodservice,” said Rich Wolowski, President & CEO of Gordon Food Service. “To kick off our 126th year, we’re excited to continue that legacy by supporting our fifth cohort of emerging companies that are pioneering fresh approaches to various challenges in our industry.” 

Food Foundry is excited to welcome the following five startups into their 2023 cohort:

  • The Crop Project is an agricultural processing and wholesale company devoted to bringing regenerative crops to market, beginning with Atlantic Sugar Kelp.
  • CZero Foods is building the new fulfillment cold-chain and making it carbon-neutral and cost-accessible for food CPG brands of all sizes and stages of growth.
  • FlexSea is developing home compostable and naturally degradable film and packaging formulations derived from seaweed to tackle the global plastic pollution crisis. 
  • FreshPost is enabling retailers of perishable goods to offer secure and branded out-of-home delivery services through modular and temperature-controlled locker systems.
  • SupplyNow is a digital purchasing and logistics solution that provides on-demand supplies to restaurants to navigate supply chain failures.

During the selection process, Food Foundry received more than 550+ applications from startups across the world. Each of the five companies chosen for the upcoming 2023 cohort presented an exceptional level of new and innovative solutions, strong founder teams, and an eagerness to learn from industry experts across the Gordon Food Service and Food Foundry ecosystem.

Mandy Tahvonen, VP & Managing Director of Relish Works said, “Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at Relish Works and Gordon Food Service. We are committed to supporting and growing early-stage food and foodservice businesses through funding and growth opportunities and are excited to welcome our fifth cohort to our community.”

Additionally, Food Foundry welcomes the following Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) to support the fifth cohort:

  • Betsy Fore, Co-Founder of Tiny Organics and Natives Rising
  • Robert Snyder, Co-Founder and Advisor at HourWork
  • Kyra Atekwana, Founder of ReSourceful

Each EIR holds extensive knowledge and experience gained from launching businesses in the foodservice spaces and will serve as a key go-to mentor to cohort members throughout the duration of the program.

The Food Foundry accelerator program provides each startup with an initial $75K investment and various opportunities to learn the intricacies of the food and foodservice industry. The program provides extensive 1:1 mentorship, specialized programming surrounding the foodservice industry, special events, network connections, workshops, and more. The fifth cohort kicks off January 24th, 2023 and will culminate with a final showcase event in May 2023.

To learn more about Food Foundry’s fifth cohort or its member companies, please visit

About Food Foundry

Food Foundry is a Chicago-based accelerator program built by Relish Works and Gordon Food Service to support, connect, and propel innovative early stage startups who are disrupting and rethinking the food industry. Over the past four years, 25 alumni companies have graduated from the Food Foundry program and have gone on to raise $65m+ in venture funding and created 200+ jobs. Food Foundry offers access to national foodservice business resources, distribution and supply chain resources, advanced startup curriculum, network connections, investment, and more.

About Relish Works

Relish Works is a Chicago-based innovation hub leading disruption in the food and foodservice industry. Its purpose is to generate innovative solutions to the most pressing customer problems in the foodservice industry by creating partnerships, designing new solutions, and making strategic investments. Relish Works has deep professional expertise in human-centered design, customer experience, strategy, and early-stage investing.

About Gordon Food Service

For more than 125 years, Gordon Food Service has delivered uncompromising quality and heartfelt service for our customers. Beginning as a simple butter-and-egg delivery service, we’ve grown to become the largest family business in the foodservice industry by upholding the same approach since 1897—remaining passionately committed to the people we serve. Today, we serve foodservice operators in the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest regions of the United States and coast-to-coast in Canada. We also operate 170+ Gordon Food Service Store locations in the U.S. By partnering with organizations from across industries—healthcare to education, independent and chain restaurants, and event planners—we help our customers create food experiences that people choose, enjoy, and remember. To learn more about Gordon Food Service, visit


Claudia Saric, Food Foundry,

Sharon Devine, Gordon Food Service,

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