The Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network Launches, Seeks To Grow Industry

CHICAGO (CBS) — A new non-profit seeks to grow the food and beverage manufacturing industry in and around Chicago.

The Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network is a nonprofit that will seek to bring together the region’s food and beverage companies, focusing on innovation, collaboration and growth. WBBM’s Mike Krauser reports.

“We are technically a food and beverage cluster organization. You’re familiar with Hollywood, as an entertainment cluster; food and beverage is such a big business here in town that we actually are the second largest food and beverage cluster in the United States,” said Alan Reed, Executive Director of the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network.

Second to Los Angeles, Reed said.

The restaurant and agricultural industries are not part of the group. The network will focus on what Reed calls the middle ground of the food and beverage supply chain. A $32-billion industry he said with 4,500 companies, employing 130,000 people.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

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.

For more information, visit www.chicagolandfood.org

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