ALFA Food Manufacturing Accelerator Program
ALFA is a food manufacturing accelerator that partners with early-stage liquid, flowable/spreadable food product companies and is a partnership between At Last! Gourmet Foods and FoodOps. The idea for an accelerator program such as ALFA came from the local and regional gap in contract manufacturing/co-packers willing to engage with and service food businesses with less than $1 million in revenue per year. Understanding shared risk could come with a shared reward, At Last! and FoodOps created ALFA.
The goal of this accelerator program is to transition food businesses from self-produced products into contract manufacturing/co-packing. ALFA is looking for food businesses that want to make sizable change in the scale of their operations in the next year. Startups that are grossing at least $60,000 in revenue per year or producing approximately 8,000 units of finished product (meeting minimum order quantities) in a twelve-month period will be considered for cohort 1. Up to five startups will receive customized manufacturing support, dedicated production time, and monthly business consulting for the first 12 months in the program. In exchange for a robust onboarding process and technical assistance, program acceptance is contingent upon a $7,500 program fee, 36-month production agreement, and a commitment to exponential annual growth. The application for cohort 1 will open on March 15, 2020 and the program will begin in May 2020.
ALFA will not require equity in exchange for program admission. The accelerator is meant to optimize and scale production for cohort businesses, not to create investment opportunities for program partners.
By investing time and resources transitioning businesses to the At! Last Gourmet Foods production facility, ALFA expects cohort businesses to grow within its production facilities with committed and driven company leadership. If accepted into the program, cash flow projections, profit and loss statements, balance sheets, investor terms sheets, partnership agreements, and other information will be requested as needed to identify and allocate the best resources and advisement to the participant businesses, as well as to establish baseline metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). It is also possible that some of this data would be requested to support the application review.
ALFA is looking for applications that convey proven strength in the following areas:
Category - flowable, liquid, and semi-firm fresh and frozen products will be considered for cohort 1 (May 2020 start)
Differentiation - products are striving to be top of class/category locally and regionally with unique attributes or a commitment to sustainability (as defined by the applicant), taste, texture, and story
Ingredients - preference toward local, non-GMO, organic, and kosher ingredients, and GAP-certified suppliers, At Last! is capable of processing and handling all major allergens but all protein ingredients must be USDA approved
Sourcing - strive to support small and mid-size sustainable and regenerative agricultural and food processing operations within your local area or region when seasonably available
Growth - commit to redirecting energy and resources to substantial company growth and demand generation with quarterly review of KPIs
Compliance - licensing and regulatory compliance should be commensurate with local and state guidelines
Values - brand attributes and assets are reflective of a values-driven business and benchmarked to other emerging CPG companies
Commitment - companies must commit to 24 months of production with At Last! Gourmet Foods following the 12-month acceleration programming, and show eagerness and enthusiasm to grow their company, brand, and sales to a new level.
Application Information & Deadline
The ALFA program application will request the following information:
Current Production & Sales
Product Details & Ingredients
Packaging, Production, & Distribution
Each business accepted into the accelerator cohort will be required to sign a memorandum of understanding noting program acceptance date as well as confirm production start.
The application for cohort 1 will open on March 15, 2020. To apply, visit www.atlastgourmetfoods.com/alfa
About At Last Gourmet Foods
At Last! Gourmet Foods Inc. is a Minneapolis-based food production facility, focused on liquid and spreadable products and custom production formulations, for food service and retail customers. The company co-innovates and delivers product solutions to precision quality specifications for use in mainstream food service and grocery markets. At Last! is a leading provider of soups, sauces, dips, and spreads in the Midwest and is focused on developing products that incorporate regenerative and sustainable sourcing solutions. The company’s clean label products have transformed the grocery and restaurant markets, bringing increased levels of flavor, protein, nutrition, and product functionality to foodservice and retail markets. At Last! Gourmet Foods is a USDA inspected and USDA Certified Organic, and SQF level II production facility. Their team of product innovators and quality assurance technicians excel in delivering consistency to the production of co-manufactured and branded products.
At Last! was founded in 1990 by husband and wife team Ray Chamberlain and Janet Barnes.
Over the past 30 years, At Last! has expanded their footprint in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis from a 6,000 sq ft production facility to its current 28,000 sq ft of production and warehouse space, with an additional 20,000 sq ft of production floor and storage slotted to open in the next 12 months. Current production capacity is 30,000 lbs of finished product per day, and the new facility expansion will allow for a 300% increase in production capacity and is expected to add approximately 15 jobs in the next 12-18 months.