JetBlue Partners With Three Budding New York Companies For Third Installment of Its BlueBud Business Mentoring Program
JetBlue recently announced the winners selected to participate in its third annual BlueBud(buddies + budding new companies) business mentoring program. In celebration of the third round of the BlueBud program, JetBlue has selected three food and beverage brands from New York.
This year’s winners merge food and beverage with social impact. Toast Ale is a Bronx-based brewery that is reducing food waste by using surplus bread to make craft beer. Barber Farm Distillery is family owned, making craft vodka from potatoes grown on their farm. Luv Michael is a non-profit that produces nut-free gluten free granola made by workers on the autism spectrum. These budding New York food and beverage companies will learn what it takes to potentially get their products onboard a commercial airline, directly from airline senior leaders.
“The goal of BlueBud is to support food and beverage companies that deliver social and environmental value through their products,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, head of sustainability, JetBlue. “All of these companies support job growth in New York and social and environmental innovation.”
JetBlue worked with GrowNYC to select the current crop for BlueBud. Winners were announced at a celebration event at Project Farmhouse, GrowNYC’s state-of-the-art sustainability and education center located near Union Square in New York City. Applications were reviewed by esteemed judges including Liz Neumark, CEO and Founder of Great Performances; Bret Csencsitz, Managing Partner, Gotham Bar and Grill; David Johnson, Deputy to the Senior Advisor to the Brooklyn Borough President; Jeanhee Lee, Assistant Managing Editor, Crain’s New York Business; Karen Washington, Co-Owner of Rise & Root Farm, and William Telepan, Executive Chef at Oceana.
Over the next year, these three companies will participate in business mentorship including:
Previous BlueBud participants have includedBronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce, made from serrano peppers grown in collaboration with GrowNYC and Bronx Greenup, and Hot Bread Kitchen – a social enterprise bakery based in Harlem that creates economic opportunity through careers in food for foreign-born and immigrant women. Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce sources their peppers from more than 40 Bronx greenmarket farms and community gardens. Each bottle sold directly supports these gardens and farmers and helps to revitalize the Bronx’s budding economy, asserting the borough as the next big culinary destination for local food in New York. Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce is available in JetBlue’s T5 in the New York Minute shop, a concept store that offers New York-produced products.
Hot Bread Kitchen was the first winner of the BlueBud program. After a year of mentorship, the bakery learned what it takes to partner with an airline, and then pitched their product to JetBlue. Although being part of BlueBud is no guarantee to making it onboard, JetBlue was impressed by Hot Bread Kitchen’s pitch and introduced the bakery’s challah rolls onto its Mint brunch menu. Mint is JetBlue’s unique take on premium service and is available on select routes.
Food For Thought - BlueBud promotes innovation and helps JetBlue offer responsible food and beverage options to its customers and even crewmembers. Airlines haven’t traditionally been associated with fresh and responsible foods. JetBlue is changing that as its product development, strategic sourcing and sustainability team’s work together to ensure nutritious options are available onboard and in its terminal. Being a successful supplier to a commercial airline is no easy task -- especially for small businesses. JetBlue's supplier diversity initiative provides diverse business partners with equal access to opportunities. BlueBud is an example of the airline's inclusive mindset -- impacting people, planet and profits. The airline's hope is to create greater access to JetBlue opportunities one BlueBud at a time. Visit jetblue.com/green/food for more details.