NEW YORK — JetBlue recently began accepting applications for its business mentoring program – BlueBud (buddies + budding new companies). Now in its second year, JetBlue’s BlueBud program is once again offering innovative and socially responsible food and beverage companies a unique opportunity to learn what it takes to potentially get their products onboard commercial aircraft.
“The aviation industry is incredibly complex. BlueBud is helping to diversify our food and beverage business partner base,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue’s head of sustainability. “JetBlue is a homegrown New York brand. We’re excited to help other companies from New York with a focus on those that consider environmental impact and responsible practices. ”
The first winner of the BlueBud program was Hot Bread Kitchen. This social enterprise bakery, based in Harlem, builds lasting economic security for foreign-born and low-income women by introducing them to professional opportunities in the culinary industry. Hot Bread Kitchen has worked with JetBlue for a year and received mentorship and special access to business leaders and the airline’s unique product development culture.
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 will introduce the bakery’s challah rolls onto its Mint menu in summer 2016. Mint is JetBlue’s unique take on premium service and is available on select routes.
“We are now working on replicating our model across the country,” says Jessamyn Rodriguez, Hot Bread Kitchen’s CEO. “Our partnership with JetBlue feels like a launchpad for Hot Bread Kitchen, synonymous with our hope to travel beyond our New York roots to prove that our business can impact the livelihood and prosperity of women across the country.”
BlueBud is intended to promote innovation and offer responsible food and beverage options onboard. Airlines haven’t traditionally been associated with fresh and responsible foods. JetBlue is changing that as its product development, strategic sourcing and sustainability teams work to ensure there are nutritious options available for customers. Applications are currently being accepted at Jetblue.com/green/food/ until April 27, 2016.
The company selected for the BlueBud mentoring program will participate in a mentorship initiative that may include:
- A tour of JetBlue’s Headquarters (called our Long Island City Support Center), JFK’s Terminal 5 and an airline catering station to understand how a food (literally) gets onboard JetBlue
- A trip to JetBlue’s orientation in Orlando to understand JetBlue business development, community building and why and how we look for shared values in a partner
- A speaker and taste-testing event opportunity to JetBlue’s Crewmembers at Long Island City Support Center
- Intimate access to JetBlue teams including Purchasing, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Communications and Marketing, Brand and Onboard Product to understand how a once small company feels about getting big
- Work space and access to conference rooms
- Travel certificates to and from New York for relevant company members to join in specific meetings approved by JetBlue and the partner company
Applications are being accepted until April 27, 2016 from companies with focuses in any or all of the following categories:
- Responsible foods: Foods focusing on positive environment and social impact
- Tasty foods: Foods that are nutritious and conscious of targeted needs
- Informed foods: Foods that are innovative, diverse, and part of a curated JetBlue experience
- Homegrown foods: Companies with a connection to New York, JetBlue’s hometown