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Published on : Wednesday, August 17, 2016
JetBlue Spices Up Its “BlueBud” Business Mentoring Program With Bronx Hot Sauce – Serrano Pepper Product Grown in New York City. BlueBud was designed as a way for JetBlue to connect with diverse suppliers starting with environmentally and socially conscious companies and start-ups that have similar responsible practices. BlueBud helps feed the airline’s pipeline of sustainable and innovative food products.
Small companies learn what it takes to break into the aviation catering space while remaining true to their social mission.
The recipe for The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce was created by acclaimed chef King Phojanakong, a native of New York City. Not only are the serrano peppers green, with each purchase the Bronx is a little bit more green. More than 40 Bronx greenmarket farms and community gardens grow these peppers. Each bottle sold directly supports these gardens and farmers, helps to revitalize the Bronx’s budding economy and asserts the borough as the next big culinary destination for local food in New York.
“We agree with a certain pop star, hot sauce should always be in your bag,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue’s head of sustainability. “BlueBud supports food products made right here in New York. The program connects innovation with impact and our mission of inspiring humanity with budding companies. The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce lives this purpose by sourcing their peppers directly from local community gardens and greenmarket farms.”
Throughout the fall, The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce will participate in a variety of initiatives with JetBlue which may include taste test events and a tour of an airline catering facility to better understand how food (literally) gets onboard. The hot sauce brand will receive special access to JetBlue’s business leaders and the airline’s distinct product development culture, as well as valuable industry insights from JetBlue teams including strategic sourcing, purchasing, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, communications, marketing, brand and onboard product.
”Being selected by JetBlue is an incredibly meaningful development opportunity for a young company like ours,” said John A. Crotty, Senior VP at The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce. “The elements required to grow a small community-oriented business like ours will be greatly enhanced by mentoring from JetBlue. Their commitment to helping us grow will produce stronger more vibrant community gardens where they are needed most.”
“As one of New York’s leading airlines, JetBlue’s partnership with The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce will have a meaningful impact on our borough by supporting more than 40 greenmarket farms and community gardens that supply serrano peppers to this local small business,” said New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, representing the 83rd Assembly District in the northeast Bronx. “The partnership is also great for our state. Small businesses make up 98 percent of the businesses in New York State and employ more than half of the state’s private sector work force, so having a large business like JetBlue support a small business is great for our state’s economy.”
“There is no matching the talent or diversity of our homegrown companies, and that’s especially true when it comes to food. Firms like The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce create good jobs right here in the five boroughs. JetBlue is giving them an incredible opportunity to grow their business and access new customers. We are thrilled to see this kind of innovative partnership take off,” said New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, Alicia Glen.
“The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce is a great product that was designed to help local gardeners showcase the diverse flavors of our borough and their communities,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The partnership between JetBlue and The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce is a great way to highlight the amazing efforts of so many individuals who are committed to our community gardens, and all the great things that are happening in our great borough.”
The first winner of JetBlue’s BlueBud program was Hot Bread Kitchen – a social enterprise bakery based in Harlem. The bakery creates economic opportunity through careers in food, through a paid on-the-job training in bread baking for foreign-born and immigrant women. After a year of mentorship, 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 introduced the bakery’s challah rolls onto its Mint brunch menu. Mint is JetBlue’s unique take on premium service and is available on select routes.