The BlueBud program launched in 2015 and originally focused on up-and-coming environmentally and socially responsible food brands based in New York. JetBlue has expanded the program to include small businesses in the greater Boston area. This year’s winners focus on offering sustainable and nutritious options and bringing opportunity to their local communities, while last year’s winners concentrated on social impact and innovation. Click to view stories about last year’s winners - Luv Michael, 1857 Spirits and Toast Ale.
“BlueBud raises awareness for brands who offer delicious foods that also incorporate environmentally and socially responsible missions,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, head of sustainability and ESG, JetBlue. “As these small businesses learn directly from JetBlue leaders, they will be able to use this framework to grow responsibly while scaling up to potentially take their products from farm to tray table or terminal.”
This year’s winners include:
Eat Your Coffee (Boston) – EatYour Coffee creates energizing snacks and bars made from simple ingredients. Supporting Fair Trade coffee farmers, the caffeinated snack bars are non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, kosher and made with organic dates, oats, and roasted coffee. Co-founders Johnny Fayad and Ali Kothari started Eat Your Coffee making snack bars in their dorm room and have sold more than one million bars to date, pioneering a new category in naturally caffeinated snacks. Visit eatyour.coffee for more information.
Sustainable Snacks (Bronx, N.Y.) – Sustainable Snacks is committed to promoting public health through better snacking. Snacks are crafted with bold flavors and unique textures from 100% plant-based ingredients. The company focuses on making their products accessible to all who desire healthy, on-the-go snack options, therefore influencing better snacking and health. Their flagship line of vegan, paleo Chocolate Superfood snacks are made with berries, nuts, and a first-of-its-kind paleo maple chocolate. The brand also provides nutrition education and offers its snacks at reduced cost to local residents. For more details visit sustainablesnacks.co.
9 Miles East Farm (Schuylerville, N.Y.) – Gordon and Mary Sacks started 9 Miles East Farm to make it easy for busy people to enjoy healthy local food. 9 Miles East Farms grows many of the seasonal ingredients for their ready-to-eat GO Box meals, prepares meals in its on-farm commercial kitchen, and delivers healthy, locally-sourced meals in proprietary formats to workplaces and home subscribers in New York and Massachusetts. The Farm is focused on expanding the market for local food by serving customers whose needs are not met by the current food establishment. For more information, visit 9mileseast.com.
JetBlue’s BlueBud Mentoring Program – The small companies selected for the program focus on responsible, intelligent, informed and/or homegrown business. These budding brands will participate in an extensive business mentorship which includes:
- A look at JetBlue’s unique and award-winning culture starting with a trip to the company’s orientation at JetBlue University in Orlando to understand the airline’s mission and values
- Access to JetBlue leadership and business partners in Strategic Sourcing, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Corporate Communications, Marketing, Brand and Onboard Product Experience
- Travel to/from New York City for sessions with JetBlue leaders and business partners
Although participation in the program does not guarantee that a brand’s products will make it onboard, JetBlue works with each mentee in a variety of other ways. Previous BlueBud participant Small Axe Peppers Hot Sauce (formerly Bronx Greenmarket Market Hot Sauce) is available in JetBlue’s home terminal –T5 at JFK Airport – in the New York Minute shop, a concept store that offers Empire State-produced products. In addition, after a year of mentorship, Hot Bread Kitchen learned what it takes to collaborate with an airline, and then pitched their product. JetBlue was so impressed, they offered the bakery’s challah rolls on its Mint brunch menu for several seasons. Luv Michael has also partnered with JetBlue to provide snacks and information on job opportunities for those on the autism spectrum during one of JetBlue’s Blue Horizons for Autism airport rehearsal events at JFK Airport.
JetBlue's supplier diversity initiative works to provide a wide range of 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. For more information, visit jetblue.com/sustainability.