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Posts from the ‘Incubator’ category

PepsiCo today announced the second year of its Nutrition Greenhouse incubator scheme, an initiative designed to discover and nurture breakthrough brands in the food and beverage sector.

pepsi incubator

Issuing an open call for entrepreneurs to apply, PepsiCo is seeking to identify up to ten emerging brands in the nutrition space with products aimed at European consumers.

The selected companies will receive €20,000 in funding as well as the opportunity to work alongside experts from some of PepsiCo’s leading brands including Quaker, Alvalle, Sunbites and Tropicana. Brands currently delivering sales of €5 million or less are invited to find out more.

In addition to the initial €20,000 grant, each of the entrepreneurs selected will benefit from a six-month mentorship programme, featuring one-on-one pairing with PepsiCo executives. At the end of the scheme, one winning company will be awarded a €100,000 prize to continue its expansion.

The initiative, which launched last year, has seen eight companies achieve estimated combined growth of over €10 million – a fourfold increase in sales over its duration. Brands which were selected last year included makers of insect snacks, seaweed protein and Nordic birch water.

Year two will include a broader focus on nutrition beyond health and wellness, towards brands that tap into key lifestyle trends, enable personal performance or are purpose-driven.

Juan Ignacio Amat, vice president of nutrition for PepsiCo Western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “We are delighted to be returning with our Nutrition Greenhouse programme for a second year. Our overarching goal remains the same – to partner with the best and brightest food and beverage entrepreneurs in Europe and give them the opportunity to bring their products to the world on a global scale.


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Kraft Heinz, the food giant better known for its ketchup and Oscar Mayer cold cuts, is announcing its first bets on the brands it hopes will be part of the future of snacking.

Ahead of a formal announcement on Monday, the company told CNBC its new growth arm, Springboard, is partnering with these five food start-ups: Ayoba-­Yo meat snacks, Cleveland Kraut fermented food, Kumana avocado-based sauces, Poppilu antioxidant lemonade and Quevos egg-white snacks.

The brands it selected are “breaking the mold, trying new things,” said Eduardo Luz, Kraft Heinz’s president of U.S. grocery. “As we get closer to them … we see what works,” he added.

Springboard focuses on developing and learning from young brands, a strategy that other big food companies have adopted as they grapple with stagnating sales.

Wall Street is increasingly focusing on Kraft Heinz’s own sales, which were down 3.3 percent in the U.S. this past quarter.

The ketchup maker is backed by private equity firm 3G Capital, known for its aggressive cost-cutting. After having slashed $1.7 billion in costs following the 2015 merger of Kraft and Heinz, it now finds itself with the same challenge as many of its food-giant peers: how to get consumers to buy more of its products when small upstarts incessantly eat into sales.

Companies including PepsiCoCoca-Cola, Mars, General MillsCampbellhave launched similar ventures or incubator arms.

The goal is to stay closer to the pulse of innovation. For many, it is also to catch small brands before they become so powerful that food giants are forced to buy them at high prices. Kellogg, for example, recently paid $600 million to buy protein bar RX bar.

Read more at CNBC:

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Brands of biltong, sauerkraut and antioxidant lemonade are among the start-ups selected by Kraft Heinz to join its Springboard incubator programme.

poppilu kraftheinz

The initiative, which was launched in March, aims to nurture, scale, and accelerate the growth of five disruptive brands, bringing them closer entrepreneurs, new ideas and consumer trends.

Over the course of the next 16 weeks, the selected start-ups will participate in a programme composed of learning, funding, infrastructure access, and mentorship in Chicago.

The brands in full

  • Ayoba-Yo – has introduced a nutritious alternative to traditional beef jerky and meat sticks, fearing a 14-day air-drying process.
  • Cleveland Kraut – makes a range of sauerkrauts and now aims to expand in other sectors.
  • Kumana – is best known for its signature Venezuelan-inspired avocado sauce and is a Los Angeles-based brand creating original sauces representing diverse flavours from different regions of the world.
  • Poppilu – a Chicago-based antioxidant lemonade brand which has created beverages with Midwest-grown aronia berries, one of the highest antioxidant fruits in the world.
  • Quevos – has developed a range of salty and crunchy egg-white crisps that are low in carbs and fat, and high in protein.


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Tyson Foods announced that it is partnering with two incubators — one in Chicago and one in California — to help startup food businesses leverage the expertise of the Arkansas-based company and to help Tyson tap into innovative ideas.


Plug and Play, a global innovation platform in Silicon Valley, intends to match Tyson with promising food businesses in the startup community. The company invests in more than 150 companies each year, according to Food Business News. Chicago-based 1871 links nearly 500 digital startups to 600-plus mentors and more than 100 companies, universities, accelerators, venture funds and other organizations.

Tyson Ventures recently bought a minority stake in Memphis Meats, a cultured meat startup in San Francisco. The company has also invested in plant-based protein products through its partnership with Beyond Meat and, earlier this month, announced it would put funds into Tovala, a manufacturer of steam ovens and ready-to-cook foods. Last year, the company bought AdvancePierre, a maker of RTE hamburgers, stuffed chicken breasts, cheesesteaks and other sandwiches, for $4.2 billion.

Dive Insight:
It’s conceivable that a startup business Tyson works with through these incubators could develop the next wildly popular plant-based burger or a ready-to-eat spicy meat snack that sets the grab-and-go consumer segment on fire. Or, it could be a product completely outside the traditional meat and poultry space. With the relationships already established, it’s only a few steps from innovation to introduction into the marketplace for a huge company with development expertise and a global distribution network already in place.

These partnerships are also relatively low-risk since Tyson doesn’t put a big chunk of money in at the start but builds up the connection through sharing expertise and learns about the food-based ideas already percolating out there. And, since the startups are already working with an established incubator with solid connections, the chances of working with a big food firm are much greater for them than if they were to try and connect on their own with the larger entity.

This approach has been so successful that other major manufacturers are working with incubators or even starting their own. Conagra Brands and Kellogg Co. are involved in a joint project called “The Hatchery” opening on Chicago’s West Side this November. That food business incubator will mainly focus on snacks.

Also, Nestle USA invested in an accelerator last summer to encourage new food and agriculture startups, and Land O’Lakes launched an incubator this past July to support the growth of dairy product startups so they can more successfully compete with plant-based alternatives. Chobani runs its own incubator classes and supported seven food startups to take part in its second one this past fall.

Even though U.S. per-capita meat consumption is up this year, more consumers are trying out plant-based proteins these days in order to reduce cholesterol, limit fat and focus on healthier foods. A smart animal protein processor keeps an eye on interesting developments in the industry — regardless of whether they’re in the meat and poultry sector and regardless of geographic location — and that’s what Tyson appears to be doing.

from Food Dive:

Yogurt maker Chobani chose seven food startups from around the country to participate in its second incubator class. They will take part in workshops and mentoring events with Chobani employees for one week each month from September through December, plus receive $25,000.

This year’s participants are Chloe’s Fruit, a New York City company that makes soft serve and ice pops with only three ingredients; Farmer Willie’s of Boston, which makes gluten-free and less sugary ginger beer; Ithaca, New York-based Grainful, which produces frozen entrees and meal kits featuring steel-cut oats; LoveTheWild of Boulder, Colorado, which produces frozen fish meals; Pique Tea Crystals of San Francisco, which uses “superplants” to make tea; saffron and saffron product importer Rumi Spice of Chicago, and Snow Monkey of Santa Monica, California, which makes a plant-based ice cream.

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