Market investment

Frozen snacks maker Modern Pop receives new investment

By Douglas Yu contact

- Last updated on GMT

Modern Pop uses whole fruit as its primary ingredient. Pic: Modern Pop
Modern Pop uses whole fruit as its primary ingredient. Pic: Modern Pop
Frozen fruit bars producer Modern Pop hopes to gain market share and grow rapidly with a new round of investment from three venture capital firms: Cambridge Companies SPG, Rocana Venture Partners and Steelpoint Capital.

The California-based company did not disclose the exact sum.

According to co-founder Brad Podolec, all of these investment companies have a strong focus in the health and wellness space. Cambridge Companies SPG, who has previously invested in Foodstirs​, was attracted to Modern Pop’s branding and positioning in the frozen foods sector.

“Modern Pop saw tremendous growth in 2016 and 2017, which makes us excited to be part of its next chapter and help them continue to develop and expand their reach to offer more consumers their high quality products,”​ said Filipp Chebotarev, chief operating officer and partner at Cambridge Companies SPG.

Make fresh snacks with flash frozen fruit

The frozen foods category has gained a lot of attention recently, said Julie Podolec, Modern Pop’s CEO.

Such a trend has also attracted product developments from snack companies who have not had a foothold in the frozen aisle: Hostess Brands, for example, launched deep fried Twinkies​ as its first frozen snack two years ago.

“Frozen is the new way to snack, but the US frozen snacks overall is quite a stale category – it is so ripe for disruption,”​ noted Podolec.

“There hasn’t been much innovation other than Halo Top and Nestlé’s Outshine (Nestlé dominates 65% of the market)… The growth of the frozen foods category comes from the natural frozen subcategory, which increased by 43% in sales each year,” ​she said.

“Those are naturally-positioned brands. They are usually functional, gluten free, non-GMO and vegan.”

Podolec said Modern Pop uses whole fruit, which are flash frozen on the farm at the peak of their ripeness in order to maintain the nutrient-dense state of the fruit, and retain its freshness.

“Many of our competitor products use a puree, which is a cheap alternative texture [to whole fruit]. A lot of the time, the puree is added with lemon juice and sugar, making up a diluted form of what’s in a whole fruit,”​ she added.

Modern Pop snacks are also made using deformed fruit that would otherwise go wasted.

“Produce on the shelf has to be aesthetically appealing to consumers, but those misshaped fruit taste great and are high quality too,”​ she said.

Expand SKUs and distribution

Modern Pop currently offers six flavors: strawberry lemonade, raspberry pomegranate, pineapple, mango, tropical and fruit punch, which are produced at a co-manufacturing plant on the West Coast of the US, according to Podolec.

The products are available in 3,000 retail outlets across the country, including Wegmans, Kroger and Safeway.

“We’re expanding the number of our retail accounts with our new investments,”​ she told BakeryandSnacks.

To offset the seasonality Modern Pop would experience during winter when fewer people are expected to buy frozen foods, “we also added Publix (a Florida-headquartered supermarket) [as one of our retail partners],” ​said Podolec.

“We are laser focused on expanding our current products and SKUs across our portfolio… We aim to more than double our revenue for the next three years,”​ she added.

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