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Midwest Dairy and The Hatchery Chicago Partner for the second year

April 1, 2024


3 minute read

Midwest Dairy and The Hatchery Chicago have partnered again to fuel dairy innovation in 2023. Advancing dairy research is a key strategy of dairy checkoff, and Midwest Dairy funds research efforts that solve industry challenges and partner with those that drive demand for dairy. This partnership, now in its second year, focuses on supporting innovative food and beverage entrepreneurs.

About The Hatchery Chicago

In 2022, Midwest Dairy first partnered with one of North America’s largest food and beverage incubators, The Hatchery Chicago. The Hatchery Chicago is a non-profit food and beverage incubator that supports local entrepreneurs in building and growing successful food businesses, cultivating local job opportunities for people from all backgrounds, and accelerating inclusive economic growth on Chicago’s West side. Together, we hosted a pitch contest offering the winner six months of free access to a commercial kitchen in Chicago’s Garfield Park.

Midwest Dairy was proud to partner with The Hatchery Chicago again to relaunch this contest in 2023. As before, the contest is open to established businesses that use 30 percent dairy in their ingredient base with no alternative dairy products. The first place receives one year of free rent to a commercial kitchen, while the second-place winner receives six months.

Midwest Dairy hosted the annual pitch contest in Chicago in October 2023 in front of a panel of three judges who are successful colleagues across the dairy industry. The knowledge and feedback from these judges help determine the winners.

Meet the Bakr Cookies

Congratulations to this year’s first-place winner, Bakr Cookies. Alexa Ryan is the founder of Bakr Cookies, located in the heart of Chicago. Bakr Cookies prides itself on offering real butter, fair trade chocolate, clean ingredients, flakey sea salt, and elevated flavors. Bakr Cookies also envisions sourcing butter locally from Midwest Dairy farmers and assisting with research and development. The $14.2 billion cookie segment is expected to grow 20 percent over the next five years, making this cookie business excited for the future. Bakr Cookies will receive a private kitchen with window co-branded signage for 12 months at The Hatchery Chicago.

Hatchery Winner Bakr Cookies

Midwest Dairy and The Hatchery Chicago are proud to award kitchens to new businesses. This contest allows Checkoff to encourage even more dairy innovation and sales with the goal of allowing food vendors to create a long-standing business that can grow into their own space to continue selling and promoting dairy products.