US-based yogurt maker Chobani has named its picks for its incubator programme in Australia.

Chobani, which has done business in Australia since 2011, launched an incubator in the country last year following a similar move in its home market in 2016.

The company has chosen five companies for the Australian programme, which started this week and which, the manufacturer claims, will “support” the country’s “food entrepreneurs”.

Four businesses based in the south-eastern state of Victoria have joined the scheme – nut butter maker 99th Monkey, baking business Bake Mixes, seasonings supplier Mingle Seasoning and Matcha Maiden, a firm that offers matcha powder that can be blended into teas. The fifth company is Tasmania-based jerky purveyor Kooee! Snacks.

Under the four-month incubator, up to two staff from each company works with Chobani employees at the group’s local sites and Monash’s Food Innovation Centre. Each company gets a $10,000 grant.

There’s never been a better time to be a food entrepreneur – in Australia or around the world,” Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya said. “Natural food start-ups with the right mindset can change categories, challenge the big guys and make a big difference in their communities. I love what’s happening with food startups here in Australia and want to share what we’ve learned when it comes to scaling and fighting convention, like we’ve done with our other incubator programmes.”

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