The snack startups include Boston-based Bohana (which produces high-protein snacks with popped water lily seeds), IQ Bar (formulated for cognitive energy), bean-based brownie brand Rule Breaker and grain-free granola producer Wildway.
Each will receive $20,000 in grant funding and participate in a six-month business optimization program.
At the end of the program, one company will receive an additional $100,000 in funding based on its progress, the level of collaboration and partnership with the PepsiCo mentors and the effective use of the initial $20,000 grant.
According to Daniel Grubbs, MD of PepsiCo’s ventures group, the company also looks for something beyond investments in these startups.
“The potential of acquisition is definitely on the table, but the primary focus is to be supportive of their businesses,” he told BakeryandSnacks.
Nadine Habayeb, co-founder and CEO of Bohana, said: "The company was founded in 2017 to introduce popped water lily seeds to the US market, on the promise to always create food that is natural, nutritious, sustainable and delicious.
“As first-time entrepreneurs, the guidance from industry veterans who have decades of experience and access to cutting-edge innovation is invaluable. We believe Bohana has huge potential and, under the mentorship of the PepsiCo team, we can scale and build an impactful and successful company."
Will Nitze, CEO of IQ Bar, said: "We are the only bar built for the brain, the only bar that hits the ‘Keto + Paleo + Vegan’ trifecta, and the only bar that contains the brain-boosting Lion's Mane Extract.
"While we have made strides in the past year, we stand to gain a great deal of knowhow from our PepsiCo mentor, especially in the fields of supply chain and operations."
Nancy Kalish, founder and CEO of Rule Breaker, said: "Rule Breaker snacks harness the power of beans along with other wholesome ingredients to create truly delicious, indulgent and guilt-free goodies that anyone can feel good about eating or feeding to their children.
“Over the past three years, we have expanded dramatically both within the broad marketplace as a disruptor in the better-for-you treat space as well as within key niche segments. As we continue to look to the future and the inherent challenges in scaling up, we are thrilled and honored to have this opportunity to learn and collaborate with industry leaders and innovators."
Kyle Koehler, co-founder of Wildway, said: "Four years ago, we set out to create a company that fuels and inspires life's great adventures.
"We hope to learn from the experience and knowledge of those involved in the program on how we can effectively grow and shape Wildway for continued growth and expansion in order to further spread our health and wellness focused mission to as many people as possible."