Which start-ups are getting the Kraft Heinz thumbs up?

The winners of the global food giant's inaugural Springboard Incubator Program have been announced.

16 May 2018

Kraft Heinz has revealed the five ‘disruptive’ brands that are to take part in its inaugural Springboard Incubator Program. Though the initiative limited applications to US-based companies for its first outing, it is part of a wider trend in the food industry for big global corporations to invest in cool independents – for example, Unilever’s partnership with Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen founder Zoe Adjonyoh to create the vegan, gluten-free Red Red range.  

“Hundreds of applications were carefully reviewed to select authentic propositions and inspired founders within one of the four pillars shaping the future of food: Natural & Organic, Specialty & Craft, Health & Performance, and Experiential brands,” said Sergio Eleuterio, general manager of Springboard.

So what concepts made the cut?


Very much one for an American market, this biltong maker (pictured above) clearly charmed Kraft Heinz with the idea of a more exotic version of beef jerky. Think of it: the citizens of the United States are thoroughly acquainted with the idea of chewy dried meat; this is basically just making it seem a bit more high end.

That perception is certainly going to be helped by Ayoba-Yo’s sugar-free, gluten-free, artificial-flavouring-free claims. And the fact that it is keto and paleo friendly. And high in protein. Did we mention that this biltong is made using a 400-year-old family recipe? Because that’s an important part of the sell.

Cleveland Kraut

Condiments is one of those areas that has seen quite a bit of experimentation of late, whether its vegan mayo or the rise of hot sauces – as well as all manner of variation on classic ketchup.

Sauerkraut feels like a great addition to this arena. It’s raw, it’s fermented, it’s (apparently) very customisable. Cleveland Kraut offer it with beets, roasted garlic, curry or whiskey and dill, among others.

They also announced plans to expand into other fermented goodness after securing $1m in funding at the end of 2017, the same year co-founder Drew Anderson was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30.


You would have thought we’d had enough of avocados by this point, but despite the fact that the growth in pineapple sales at Tesco outstripped the fashionable green fruit last year, the gross sales weren’t even close. It seems you can’t go wrong with an avo, so why not bet on Kumana?

The company manufactures three versions of its avocado-based, Venezuelan-influenced condiment. It’s non-GMO verified, has no added sugar, is gluten free and highlights the fact that it’s plant based (in case anybody was worried the avocado might not be a vegetable or a fruit).


Antioxidants, our nutritional consultant Dr. Laura Wyness frequently tells us, are awesome, because they have a variety of health benefits (we’re paraphrasing, she puts it a lot more technically). Combine this buzzy health substance with something familiar like lemonade, and you have Poppilu.

The antioxidants principally come from the use of aronia berries, a native North American foodstuff that has been described as a ‘superfruit’ with three times the amount of antioxidants as blueberries. Incidentally, one of the Poppilu flavours (along with original and passionfruit) is actually blueberry, so presumably consumers will have antioxidants exploding out of their pores.

The lemonade is touted as having more vitamin C and less sugar than competitors – but it still has around 11g added sugar as well as stevia leaf extract to sweeten the “mouth-puckering flavour” further.


This brand hasn’t even begun selling its product, but clearly the concept of egg white crisps seems right to Kraft Heinz.

Food Spark recently talked about how snacks flavour with salted egg yolk are sending South East Asian consumers wild, but this is less about the taste and more about the 20g of protein and 100 calories contained in each pack. Eggs means no vegan thumbs up, but they are low in carbs.

Started by pair of university students, Quevos landed a $15,000 prize at the College New Venture Challenge in March, proving the product has inspired more than just the Springboard programme with confidence.

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