Market investment

Kraft Heinz investment arm eyes sugar-free jerky and egg white chips as future snack trends

By Douglas Yu contact

- Last updated on GMT

Kraft Heinz is not taking an ownership stake in brands it invests in.  Pic: Kraft Heinz
Kraft Heinz is not taking an ownership stake in brands it invests in. Pic: Kraft Heinz
Kraft Heinz has invested in Ayoba-Yo jerky and Quevos egg white chips for an undisclosed sum through its venture arm Springboard as it believes these brands represent the future of snacking.

Ayoba-Yo was co-founded by South African brothers, Wian and Emile van Blommestein, using a 400-year-old family recipe to create a sugar-free product as an alternative to traditional beef jerky and meat sticks.

Quevos, a salty snack product that is low in carbs and fat and packed with protein, was created by the two University of Chicago students.

QUEVOS

“These companies demonstrate authentic propositions, first-to-market advantage… We want to help them grow fast,”​ said Sergio Eleuterio, Springboard’s general manager.

He noted Kraft Heinz is not taking an ownership stake, but looking into forming a long-term partnership with a “simple agreement for future equity.”

Four pillars for investment

Springboard was launched by Kraft Heinz in March this year to “nurture, scale and accelerate growth of disruptive US brands within the food and beverage space,”​ and has received hundreds of applications looking for investment, said Eleuterio.

Other startups the platform has selected to assist include Cleveland Kraut, a sauerkraut brand; Kumana, a Venezuelan-inspired avocado sauce; and Poppilu, a Chicago-based antioxidant lemonade.

According to Eleuterio, Springboard focuses on four pillars during its selection process – natural and organic, specialty and craft, health and performance, and experiential brands.

“The platform aims to build a group and foster collaboration among engaged founders who would continue leading their businesses with the support and expertise from Kraft Heinz,”​ he said.

Over the course of the next 16 weeks, these startups along with Ayoba-Yo and Quevos will participate in a Kraft Heinz-conducted mentorship program in Chicago.

They will also be given access down the line to other business resources including workspace, state-of-the-art plants, commercial kitchens and guidance from Kraft Heinz’s senior leadership.

Pre-valuation startups

The ketchup maker came relatively late to the scene in creating its own incubator, following the footsteps of companies like PepsiCo, General Mills, Kellogg and Campbell Soup, which formed incubators to tackle the changing consumer behavior.

However, Eleuterio told BakeryandSnacks Kraft Heinz has been learning from other programs, and looking into where its resources would be more efficient to those pre-valuation startups.

“We are always open to conversations with founders of authentic companies that fit our vision for the future of food and growth pillars. It is an ongoing and organic process,”​ he said.

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