PepsiCo announces next round of startups poised to disrupt the sector

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The class of 2020. Pic: PepsiCo
The class of 2020. Pic: PepsiCo

Related tags Pepsico North American Greenhouse programme vegan Non GMO Project plant-based Gluten-free compostable packaging Food waste Allergen functional claims

Half the 10-strong line-up to join PepsiCo’s second annual North American Greenhouse programme includes startups that are poised to disrupt the snacks sector with their takes on healthy, natural and sustainably driven snacks.

LOVE CORN created a Premium Crunchy Corn that is a healthy swap for chips, pretzels and crackers. The snack ticks many of today’s on trend boxes, including vegan, plant-based, gluten-free and non-GMO Project Verified.

MudLrk Snacks crafts plant-based whole food snacks, including shiitake mushroom crisps (Ranch, Kansas City BBQ and Sriracha) and jackfruit crisps, packed in proprietary packaging made from compostable materials.

Nuttee Bean Co. makes whole roasted fava bean snacks that are gluten-free, allergen-friendly, vegan and certified non-GMO, available in three bold flavours: Wasabi & Ginger, Chili & Lime and Salt & Vinegar.

Siren Snacks – a female-founded brand – produces bite-sized snacks that incorporate functional, superfood ingredients, including a line of plant-based protein bites, Rest & Relaxation bites and Organic Energy bites.

SPUDSY has developed the world's first sweet potato puff, which uses ingredients in a way that reduces food waste. The puffs are also certified non-GMO, vegan and gluten free, and come in three flavours, including Vegan Cheesy Cheddar, Bangin' Bar-B-Q and Cinnamon Churro.

Snacks with a purpose

The finalists were selected by a committee of PepsiCo specialists, based on their product and brand qualities, how they integrate purpose into their offering, and meet the needs of current and future consumers, communities and the planet.

Each will receive $20,000 in grant funding and participate in a six-month business programme. 

“PepsiCo's Greenhouse program aims to accelerate growth for entrepreneurs who have built purpose-driven brands that are changing the way consumers eat and drink,”​ said Daniel Grubbs, MD, PepsiCo Ventures Group.

“We provide a grant and mentorship to these companies, and we also draw great value from working closely with the entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of industry trends."

At the end of the programme, the startup that shines above the rest will receive an additional $100,000 in funding and the opportunity to continue partnering with PepsiCo to further their growth.

The remaining startups

Beauty Gourmet is a female-founded company that places ‘beauty’ nutrients into foods and beverages that fit seamlessly into a woman's daily life so that she can create an effortless foundation of wellness without having to do anything more than she would normally do.

NUMILK offers machines and ingredients for grocery stores that allow customers to make their own fresh, plant-based milks in reusable bottles.

Shindig has created an invigorating and nutritious juice that combines all-natural fruit and vegetables.

SUPERFRAU has developed an electrolyte elixir that captures fresh liquid whey at the source and infuses it with flavour extracts like Cucumber Lime, Lemon Elderflower and Peach Mango, in order to upcycle it into a sports drinks that also aims to build a more sustainable food system.

Synapse offers a plant-based alternative to energy drinks by harnessing the power of nootropics. The sparkling functional beverage contains zero caffeine and no artificial ingredients.

PepsiCo launched its Greenhouse programme in Europe in 2017 and expanded it to North America​ a year later. Collectively, the startups in the inaugural North America class grew their average revenues by 200% during the programme. Texas-based Hapi Drinks, ​a sugar-free kids drinks company founded with the mission to fight childhood obesity, was crowned the winning brand.

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