10 Food and Beverage Startups That PepsiCo Sees as the Next Big Thing
Giant food companies are looking for innovations from entrepreneurs. One of those major players, PepsiCo, has launched a program called Nutrition Greenhouse that aims to support those game changers.
Not only do programs such as these give PepsiCo and its ilk an avenue to potentially acquire new products and talent, but it also helps Pepsi executives and other staff develop their entrepreneurial spirit, said Daniel Grubbs, the managing director of PepsiCo Ventures Group.
"We are very excited to collaborate with, help grow and learn from these incredible companies," he said. "Each finalist is unique in their own way, but one thing they all share is they’re mission-driven and purposeful."
The 10 finalists were selected by a committee of PepsiCo leaders, the company said, and were chosen based on "their product and brand qualities, focus on consumer nutrition, scalability of their business model and uniqueness in the market."
Each company will receive $20,000 in grant funding and personalized mentorship from PepsiCo. The startups will begin a six-month business optimization program on Nov. 8, at the end of which one company will win an additional $100,000 prize.
Check out the 10 companies below, as well as insights from Grubbs on why Pepsi finds them exciting.
Remedy Organics (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.)
What is it: Plant-based beverages made with potent superfoods, ayurvedic herbs and botanicals as well as protein and probiotics.
What impressed Pepsi: "Remedy delivers refrigerated functional wellness with plant-based ingredients, which we think fits a gap in the current refrigeration market and speaks to the growing consumer demand for plant-based products."
Hapi Drinks (Austin, Texas)
What is it: Sugar-free kids drink founded with the mission to fight childhood obesity and type II diabetes.
What impressed Pepsi: "Obesity among children is a serious issue, and parents are always on the lookout for new, delicious and nutritious options for their children. Hapi Drinks aims to be a part of the solution by delivering delicious, sugar-free kids drinks."
What is it: An ancient high-protein snack made from popped water lily seed.
What impressed Pepsi: "Consumers are increasingly leaning towards plant-based options to fill their snacking needs. In North America, people are not very familiar with water lily seeds, and Bohana’s product is a great way to introduce this ingredient to consumers in a puffed form. Bohana is also very focused on a sustainable supply chain, similar to our own values at PepsiCo."
Rule Breaker Snacks (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
What is it: Better-for-you brownies and other baked goods made from beans.
What impressed Pepsi: "Rule Breaker provides what we call 'permissible indulgence' by utilizing chickpeas in their products and also being allergen-free. We think their products combine the best of major trends with a strong focus on taste."
YoFiit (Toronto, Canada)
What is it: A plant-based company focusing on functional, clean and innovative meal solutions.
What impressed Pepsi: "Increasingly, consumers are looking for dairy alternatives for taste and health reasons, and as a result, this is one of the highest growing food categories out there. YoFiit has a very authentic mission to deliver nutrition through plants, and they have a unique product that uses chickpeas to deliver a nutrient-dense dairy alternative."
IQ BAR (Boston)
What is it: A nutrition bar formulated for cognitive energy, function and health.
What impressed Pepsi: "We found IQ Bar’s proposition to deliver ingredients that support cognitive wellness unique in the bar market, and speaks to trends among consumers who are equally focused on both mental and physical performance."
Wildway (San Antonio, Texas)
What is it: A better-for-you breakfast and snack food company.
What impressed Pepsi: "Starting your day with a grain-free set of products is something an increasing number of people are seeking. Wildway brings a vibrant spirit and a unique voice to the breakfast table."
Torii Labs (Calabasas, Calif.)
What is it: A health product company creating herbal elixirs.
What impressed Pepsi: "Given the stresses of our everyday lives, we see consumers increasingly seeking natural products that help them replenish and restore their balance. Torii Labs offers a unique range of products that are pushing the envelope through herbs and juices."
Too Fit (Fort Worth, Texas)
What is it: A lifestyle brand dedicated to crafting and delivering the highest quality nutritional supplements.
What impressed Pepsi: "Too Fit’s products support consumers’ need to perform, but with the desire to do so without fillers, sugar, colors or sweeteners. They bring a fresh voice to the performance market."
Sophie's Kitchen (Sebastopol, Calif.)
What is it: A maker of plant-based seafood alternatives that are gluten and soy free.What impressed Pepsi: "Food sustainability is a huge issue, which many companies have tried to address by providing more sustainable, plant-based meat alternatives. Sophie’s Kitchen is unique in that they’re offering plant-based seafood alternatives, and we think they’re leading the charge in this space with their focus on taste and texture that consumers expect."