Food & Beverage Industry Execs Build ‘Bigger Table’: New Product Addresses Food Insecurity in Illinois

Edlong and Area Food and Beverage Companies Collaborate, Donate Ingredients, Create Product for Free

Event: February 13, 2020, at Northern Illinois Food Bank

Inspired by the saying,  “When you have more than you need, build a bigger table, not a higher fence,” Edlong and a collection of Chicago-area food and beverage industry leaders are addressing food insecurity across Illinois with the launch of their first free-to-the-hungry, low-sugar, high-protein beverage mix, ‘Bigger Table Hot Cocoa’.

‘Bigger Table Hot Cocoa’ is made from ingredients donated by Edlong and other Chicago-area food and beverage companies. This is no ordinary hot cocoa. Delicious, nutrient-rich, no added sugar, with 7g of protein and 2g of fiber, this cocoa serving will satisfy both taste and nutritional needs in Illinois as well as provide needed warmth during our cold winter.

The culmination of this months’-long pilot program occurs on February 13, 2020, at Northern Illinois Food Bank (273 Dearborn Court, Geneva, Illinois) from 1:00-3:30 p.m. 40+ volunteers will complete labeling of 10,000+ cocoa packets for the food bank to distribute.

“Addressing food insecurity is a core value that Edlong makes to the communities we serve,” said Laurette Rondenet, CEO of Edlong. “We’re proud to be a part of this first-ever collaboration, and look forward to applying our innovation expertise to help and enrich the lives of those in need.”

All Bigger Table Hot Cocoa ingredients, time, and labor have been donated by participating organizations (a collaborative in-kind contribution valued in the thousands of dollars): ADM, Bader Rutter, CoreFX, ConnectFood, Dairy Farmers of America, Edlong, FONA International, Imbibe, and Olam Cocoa. Proven Partners Group is responsible for the manufacturing of the product.

“Thousands of Illinois residents go hungry or are food insecure, and the local food & beverage industry cares about addressing this issue. This nonprofit initiative demonstrates that by working together, we can formulate delicious, nutritious, high quality products and deliver them to people who need them most,” says Alan Reed, Executive Director of the Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network (CFBN) and CFBN’s new non-profit arm, Bigger Table.

Reed adds, “We knew this initial product would launch during winter. That’s why we are debuting with something warm and nourishing.” On the horizon, Bigger Table is considering creating additional products such as high-protein pancakes, smoothie mixes, and snack bars.

This limited-edition product is created exclusively for the Northern Illinois Food Bank and its clients.

ABOUT BIGGER TABLE: Bigger Table is a nonprofit (501c3) organization founded by the Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network. It aims to bring together the area’s food & beverage industry to collaborate and deliver on a series of charitable and economic growth initiatives. By working together, Bigger Table believes it can work more effectively, have a bigger impact on the community, and better engage employees and the communities it serves.

ABOUT CHICAGOLAND FOOD AND BEVERAGE NETWORK: CFBN is a regional food & beverage membership organization representing a rich variety of industry leaders, from established professionals to budding entrepreneurs. CFBN boasts a vibrant and growing membership of companies interested in connecting and learning from others and building the industry in Chicagoland. It brings people together for networking opportunities, to brainstorm great ideas, to collaborate and create to grow business.

ABOUT NORTHERN ILLINOIS FOOD BANK: The Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, is a non-profit organization that engages the community to solve hunger in Northern Illinois. Manufacturers, local groceries, corporations, foundations and individuals come together to donate food and funds, and evaluate and repack food for distribution to more than 900 network partners – the food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and youth and senior feeding programs that serve more than half a million people every year. Northern Illinois Food Bank has centers in Geneva (West Suburban Center), Park City (North Suburban Center) Rockford (Northwest Center), and Joliet (South Suburban Center). Find out how you can volunteer, donate or get involved at


Stay Connected

Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.