The 10 better-for-you snack start-up disruptors to watch in 2022

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The next class of CoLab is poised to learn how to set the snacking space on fire. Pic: GettyImages/HADAII POLIASHENKO
The next class of CoLab is poised to learn how to set the snacking space on fire. Pic: GettyImages/HADAII POLIASHENKO

Related tags Mondelez International SnackFutures CoLab accelerator startups better for you

Ten US-based, mission-driven brands have won a coveted spot in Mondelēz International’s CoLab engagement programme (now in its second year), each supported with a $20,000 grant, mentorship and hands-on collaboration with industry experts.

SnackFutures is the Mondelēz’s innovation and venture hub, deliberately designed to push boundaries in snacking by capitalising on consumer lean and increasing white spaces in well-being snacks.

The group’s priorities support incremental growth against three key strategic areas: invent new brands and businesses; invest in early stage entrepreneurs; and amplify the SnackFutures impact with CoLab, which leverages the full power of the Oreo maker – which posted $29bn in revenue last year – along with its impressive ecosystem of partners.

The 12-week CoLab curriculum is honed to provide emerging brands with the resources and info typically needed in early stage, including consumer insight, coaching and support in operational areas like manufacturing, packaging, ingredient sourcing and marketing.

In turn, Mondelēz gains a closer pulse on trends and potential investments.

The CoLab Class of 2022

Bunny James Boxes – a vending machine business set up by Lonny James to help employers cater for the diverse dietary needs of their workers. The business has evolved into a gifting service specialising in curating snack and wellness boxes for specialty diets, allergies and food tribes.

Every Body Eat – created by Trish Thomas and Nichole Wilson to give every body, clean, gluten-free, plant-based snacks (including thins and crispbreads) that are also free from the top 14 allergens, corn and sugar.

GoNanas – Morgan Lerner and Annie Slabotsky saw the opportunity to ramp up the craze borne in the first COVID lockdown with a modernised banana bread mix that is allergen friendly, vegan, gluten free and nut free. 

Moonshot – Julia Collins is leading the fight against climate change with a carbon-neutral crackers that are made from regeneratively grown, organic ingredients.

Nunbelievable – Bryan Janeczko and Kuza Biza call their startup a ‘cookie company with a cause’, matching every purchase with a donation to fight hunger.

Oat Haus – a former eating disorder sufferer, Ali Bonar has made it a mission to help others have fun with food with the world’s first oat-based spread.

Pan’s – following a trip to Malaysia, Michael Pan saw an opportunity to bring mushroom jerky to the masses to help more Americans try to reduce their meat consumption.

Popcorn for the People – Steven and Barbie Bier set out to empower autistic adults, like their son, to find pride in purposeful work. The non-profit employs more than 50 people with special needs to make its gourmet popcorn.

Wonder Monday – Candace Wu and Jonathan Weinstein have created a low-carb, gluten-free cheesecake that tastes of nostalgia but packed with right nutrition to become a daily treat.

Yolélé – West African chef Pierre Thiam’s social and environmental mission​ is to make  craveable chips with fonio, an underutilised but highly sustainable grain from smallholder farms.

Look outside the box

“We are thrilled to have another CoLab class that can benefit from our expertise and help us look at innovation from the ‘outside in’ to create a snacking world that is good for people, kind to the planet and deliciously fun,”​ said Brigette Wolf, global head of SnackFutures.

“Last year’s programme was a huge success, and we can’t wait to see what this year holds with an amazing cohort of mission driven brands.”

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