JetBlue Airways is launching its first business mentoring program geared toward small and start-up sustainable food companies.
The program, BlueBud (buddies + budding new companies) offers the food companies the chance to learn what it takes to get their products on board commercial aircraft.
The mentorship is aimed at companies that are creating unique and novel concepts. Participants will get special access to JetBlue's business leaders who will offer participants access to the airline's product development culture.
The first BlueBud is focused on food companies from New York State. Applications are currently being accepted at Jetblue.com/green/food/ until April 6.
"We haven't forgotten what it's like to start as a small company that wants to make a difference," said Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue's head of sustainability, in a release.
The program aligns with the airline’s belief that just because you're traveling, your health and conscience don't have to suffer.
“We're proud of the products and foods produced in New York State that also consider environmental impact and these are our first choices to serve onboard and in our airports," Mendelsohn says.
Companies selected for the inaugural BlueBud mentoring program will participate in a week-long mentorship initiative that includes a tour of JetBlue headquarters, JFK's Terminal 5 and an airline catering station. The tours are meant to help participants understand how food gets onboard JetBlue.
The program also will feature a trip to JetBlue University in Orlando and participation in the airline's crewmember orientation to understand JetBlue business development and community building. Participant will get a feel for JetBlue's values and what the company looks for in partners.
"Getting onboard an aircraft as a food partner is not an easy task, so what better learning experience is there than getting first-hand knowledge directly from those that pick new menu selections," said Jamie Perry, JetBlue's vice president, brand and product development, in a release.
The emphasis is on food companies with focuses in 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) and homegrown foods (companies with a connection to the airline’s New York hometown.)