Veteran-backed Cheetos challenger secures new round of funding

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

PeaTos has garnered some heavy-hitting industry support with its alternative offerings to Cheetos and Funyuns. Pic: PeaTos
PeaTos has garnered some heavy-hitting industry support with its alternative offerings to Cheetos and Funyuns. Pic: PeaTos

Related tags: Peatos, Cheetos, PepsiCo Frito-Lay

PeaTos – developed to disrupt the $21bn snack market dominated by Cheetos maker Frito-Lay with snacks formulated with peas and lentils instead of corn for a healthier nutrition profile – has completed a $7m Series A fundraising round.

The round was led by Jackson Springs Management Partners and Connetic Ventures, along with celebrity investors including Hall of Fame basketball player Tracy McGrady.

The two-year-old brand – which is not afraid to bat heads with the ‘800 pound gorilla in the salty snacks category’, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay​ – has already gathered some serious industry muscle on its side, with advice and investments coming in from veterans like Apu Mody (former president of Mars Food North America and CEO of Lenny & Larry’s), Carlos Barroso (former head of Global R&D for Frito-Lay), Carl E. Lee Jr. (former president & CEO at Snyder’s-Lance) and Dean Hollis (former president and COO of ConAgra Foods).

Since first appearing on grocery shelves in late 2017, PeaTos has experienced significant growth in both the ecommerce space and traditional retailers across the US, including Kroger, Safeway, Albertsons, 7-Eleven and Costco.

“While the global pandemic has been a very challenging time for so many, PeaTos has been fortunate to see strong growth in all channels,”​ said Nick Desai, founder and CEO of PeaTos parent company Snack It Forward.

“We are ecstatic to have received such an enthusiastic response to our raise as well as to welcome Greg Pearlman of JSMP to the board.”

The brand recently launched a series of 'intentionally provocative' ads dubbed “Hey Chester” – a tongue-in-cheek nod to its rivalry with Cheetos – which has garnered consumer attention. According to PeaTos, a recent survey found 92% of respondents admitted to being curious about the snacks based on the ads alone, even among those who had never tried them.

“So many survey respondents have communicated to us that they like the taste and crunch of PeaTos more than their old school counterparts,” ​added Desai.

“Kids love PeaTos and moms can trade out traditional ‘junk food’ brands like Cheetos and Funyuns with PeaTos.”

Related topics: PepsiCo, Snacks, Manufacturers, Markets, Health

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