Yishi Foods Press Kit
Yishi is changing the convenient breakfast market with a product that is innovative– offering flavors not before seen in the American breakfast aisle and health benefits that expand on what traditional oatmeals provide. By offering a delicious, healthy, and convenient meal, Yishi wants to help people start every day with an easy ritual that promotes well-being.
Yishi’s mission is to provide delicious, purposeful food to support your daily wellness. We want meals and even snacks to be intentional moments of self-care, where you take satisfaction in nourishing your body while truly enjoying what you eat. We believe healthy, whole ingredient food can and should taste good, and we want to offer these foods in a convenient format that allows you to make the right choice every day.
Lin Jiang is originally from Qingdao, China. She moved to the U.S. alone at the age of 19 to attend university in the States. She graduated from University of New Hampshire and began her career at BCG in Boston.
While working long hours, she found herself reaching for unhealthy snacks throughout the day. She wanted something healthy to eat at work that was better than the bland, sugary oatmeal that she would reach to out of convenience. She remembered back to the black sesame cereal her mother would make for her as a kid and decided to make her own healthy version.
Lin made her own black sesame oatmeal from scratch, based on her mother's recipe. It was a hit among those who tried it, and she was inspired to start researching how to start a company for better-tasting oatmeal inspired by Asian flavors. She started the MBA program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and shortly after quit her job to pursue building this new company.
Co-founder Ze Li joined her shortly after founding to help with product development, working at small events like farmers markets, as well as managing operations, which was his prior experience. Through the University of Chicago they were able to access a few grants as well as access to investors. After landing a spot on Whole Foods Chicago shelves, they accepted their first investments in August 2020.
The company has since grown from two employees to six full-time employees and three interns. The company built the Yishi brand and launched June 1, 2021 to great initial reception. They have been featured in publications like Bon Appetit, Forbes, Time Out, among others.
A high volume of online sales reflects consumers’ excitement to finally see innovative, healthy, and delicious flavors in the breakfast market. Yishi will also be sold in retailers like Wegmans on the East Coast, Meijer and select Whole Foods in the Midwest, as well as boutique natural grocers across the country including Gelson’s in California and Central Market in Texas.
· Founded 2019 by CEO Lin Jiang and Co-Founder/COO Ze Li
· Yishi launched online in June 2021
· Yishi is based in Chicago, IL, with the product manufactured just outside the city
· Five uniquely delicious oatmeal flavors currently available: : Taro Bubble Tea, Toasted Black Sesame, Matcha Latte, Red Bean Berry, and Sweet Osmanthus
· The best-selling flavor is Taro Bubble Tea, followed by Toasted Black Sesame and Matcha Latte
· All Yishi offerings are formulated to fit as many diets as possible, such as vegan, gluten-free, zero added sugar, and some flavors are keto-friendly
· The name Yishi is based on the Mandarin word for “ritual.” Our food philosophy comes from our Asian roots and the traditional Chinese practice of food as medicine. We believe that making a daily practice of mindfully eating natural, whole foods is one of the best ways to build wellness, inside and out.
· Yishi is committed to environmental sustainability, with an USDA-Certified Organic and Plant-Based product, and packaging made from at least 35% post-consumer fiber, the most sustainable packaging material sourced domestically
· As of August 2021, Yishi has sold 81,000 thousand servings of oatmeal
· As of September 2021, we are a team of six full-time employees and three interns
Articles and Press Coverage
We tried a Chicago-made, bubble tea-flavored oatmeal [Time Out]
‘If Not Now, When?’ Yishi’s Founder On Launching The Next Breakout Breakfast Brand [Forbes]
Oatmeal Is Boring, But This Taro Bubble Tea Oatmeal Is Everything [Bon Appetit]
Oatmeal with an Asian twist [Chicago WGN Radio]
Standout Startups at Expo West Celebrate Asian Flavors [Food Business News]