Media Contacts:
Orly Telisman, 312.375.1230,
Elizabeth Gartman, 630.443.6910 ext. 142,

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

10 area Food and Beverage companies collaborate, donate ingredients; create product for free
Event: February 13, 2020, at Northern Illinois Food Bank (273 Dearborn Ct., Geneva, IL)

(CHICAGO, Ill., February 7, 2020) – Inspired by the saying “When you have more than you need, build a bigger table, not a higher fence,” 10 Chicago-area food and beverage industry members are addressing food insecurity across Illinois with the launch of their first charitable, low-sugar, high-protein beverage mix, ‘Bigger Table Hot Cocoa.’

‘Bigger Table Hot Cocoa’ is made from ingredients donated by local food and beverage companies. This is no ordinary hot cocoa. Delicious, nutrient-rich, no added sugar, 7g of protein, and 2g of fiber per serving, this cocoa 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 will occur February 13, 2020 at Northern Illinois Food Bank (273 Dearborn Court, Geneva, Illinois) from 1:00-3:30 p.m., when 40+ volunteers will complete labeling of 10,000+ cocoa packets for the Food Bank to distribute.

“Thousands of Illinois residents are food insecure, meaning they don’t have enough food every day, 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.

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 product manufacturing.

Reed adds, “We knew this initial product would launch in winter. That’s why we are debuting with something warm and nourishing.” On the horizon, Bigger Table is considering creating other products including high-protein pancakes, smoothie mixes, and snack bars that will also be donated to help neighbors in need.

This limited-edition product is created exclusively for Northern Illinois Food Bank and its clients. “We can’t thank Chicagoland Food and Beverage enough for their partnership and leadership surrounding this donation,” says Lee Cheney, director of food procurement, Northern Illinois Food Bank. “Their dedication to our mission of solving hunger highlights the importance of a cohesive community effort that will support our neighbors in need.”

Cheney adds, “We hope Bigger Table’s pilot effort will serve as a new type of model for industry collaboration to address hunger and food waste around the country.”


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.


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.


Northern Illinois 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