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Beanfields Snacks hopes Powerplant Venture takeover will take its snacks mainstream

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Douglas Yu

By Douglas Yu+

03-May-2017
Last updated on 03-May-2017 at 23:19 GMT2017-05-03T23:19:46Z

Beanfields Snacks has recently handed over the reigns to Powerplant Ventures to expand its footprint. Pic: Beanfields Snacks
Beanfields Snacks has recently handed over the reigns to Powerplant Ventures to expand its footprint. Pic: Beanfields Snacks

Reed Glidden, founder of rice and bean chip brand Beanfields Snacks, hopes to launch his products on the US mass channel market for everyday consumption. 

Beanfield Snacks recently transitioned its controlling investment to Powerplant Ventures, a plant-centric venture fund founded by Mark Rampolla, founder of ZICO Coconut Water; Veggie Grill founders T.K. Pillan and Kevin Boylan; and media investor Bruce Friedman.

Rampolla has since joined Beanfield Snacks as co-chairman and told BakeryandSnacks’ sister publication Food Navigator-USA that the company could be a $20m to $30m snack business “with no additional innovation.”

Founder of Beanfields Snacks, Reed Glidden, said natural food is becoming mainstream.

“I became aware a few years ago that we are competing with billionaires [in the snack space],” Glidden said. “So, I started looking at how to best fund the company.

“Beanfields Snacks was found [to be] scalable by many firms, but we said 'no' to many funders,” he said.

He added that he appreciates Rampolla’s management skills and his ability to scale businesses.

Rampolla founded Powerplant Ventures two years ago and today, owns 51% of Beanfields Snacks’ share. Glidden owns the reamining 40% with other investors.

As such, Glidden has confirmed he is no longer the decision maker of the company.

Advantages of beans

The investment by Powerplant Ventures has strengthened the concept that bean-based snacks are a growing market, said Glidden.

"Beans have a higher nutrition value, less water usage, and more biodiversity than wheat, corn and soy,” he contended.

However, the downside is that beans are not a subsidized commodity, so Beanfields has always had to compete with brands that are cheaper.

‘Haven’t hit the first level of mainstream snacking’

Beanfields is sold through Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, Jamba Juice and in over 50 small regional chains across the US, but according to Glibben, "the company has not - as yet -  hit the first level of mainstream snacking .

That, he said, is where Powerplant Ventures’ funding comes into use. To introduce Beanfields into mass channels, such as Walmart, Kroger and Costco, particularly, as he explained, “natural is becoming more mainstream.”

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