Products themed around snacking, veganism and ancient grains dominate the second round of disruptive brands that have been selected to take part in Kraft Heinz’s incubator program, Springboard.
The five businesses fall into at least one of Springboard’s committed growth pillars: natural and organic, speciality and craft, health and performance, and experiential. The start-ups will participate in a four-month course in Chicago that includes funding, infrastructure access and mentorship.
“We had an incredibly competitive group of applicants. All five companies in our second incubator class offer delicious products that cater to the better-for-you offerings consumers are demanding,” said Kelly Reinke, Springboard incubator lead.
Food Spark takes a look at what could be the next generation of brands.
Blake’s Seed Based
Growing up with a deathly nut-allergy, founder Blake Sorensen was frustrated with the lack of allergen-free snack options on the market. Every snack had nuts in it, was made in a facility with nuts, didn’t taste great or just wasn't healthy. He began to make bars in his kitchen, using seeds instead. He now specialises in making products that are free from peanuts, tree nuts, soy, milk, egg and gluten.
All the vegan-friendly bars are made from sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds. The snacking options include flavours like raspberry and pineapple, while there are also protein bars available in chocolate mint or mango lemon. Sorensen said seeds have a number of health benefits too, like helping with digestion, muscle growth and repair, controlling blood pressure and supporting brain function.
In their Brooklyn test-kitchen, Brami is reimagining lupini beans, a fresh legume snack that has been eaten in the Mediterranean since Ancient Roman times. Rather than just another dry processed snack, it creates packs filled with lupini beans that are marinated and packaged fresh out of the pickling barrel. Flavours include sea salt; garlic and rosemary; chilli and lime; hot chilli pepper; and balsamic and oregano.
The products are a source of plant protein and fibre, have a fraction of the calories, carbs, fat and sugar of other snacks on the market, and are also keto- and paleo-friendly, according to the company. Lupini beans have got some super stats attached to them too, said Brami, like having 50% more protein than eggs, 60% fewer carbs than chickpeas, 100% more fibre than edamame and 80% fewer calories than almonds.
Brami also offers one of the few shelf-stable snacks that aren’t baked, dried or fried, introducing something totally differentiated to the growing functional snack category, added Kraft.
After gorging on so-called 'healthy' crisps that he found were high in empty calories and bad fats, founder Derek Finkel wanted to take common snacks and make them with better ingredients. Ka-pop’s aim is to save snack time from boring, ‘good for you’ bites that don’t deliver on taste and to replace those empty calories with protein, fibre, omega-3, potassium and vitamins.
To do this, it uses the ancient grain sorghum to create crisps flavoured with dairy-free cheddar; rosemary garlic; salt and vinegar; and olive oil and sea salt.
Ka-pop is far from the first to explore this ingredient – the fifth most harvested grain in the US – with several companies exploring sorghum for popped products.
This start-up wants to tackle the hidden sugars found in perceived healthy foods such as fruit juices. Founder Jake Deleon's solution is to juice almonds instead of sugary fruits. The brand uses cold-press technology to extract the liquid essence of the nuts to offer the fresh and lightly sweetened taste of premium fruit juices minus the excess sugar and carbs.
Each flavour contains as little as 1g of sugar per bottle and is infused with a rainbow of superfoods and adaptogens to provide added functional benefits, according to the company. Options include lemon, ginger and a touch of cayenne; Thai coconut pina colada; ginger and turmeric; a super green juice containing matcha, moringa, spirulina and chlorella; and iced lemon chai.
It also makes a plant-based face scrub from the by-product of its almond juices.
Entrepreneur and mum of two Danielle Calabrese enlisted help from friend and chef Gregg Drusinsky to create a sustainable plant-based snack brand to change the way kids snack.
Their first product is a plant-based yogurt that is certified organic, gluten-free and non-GMO with no added sweeteners. Flavours include berry, mango and vanilla banana.
And as the States allows probiotic claims, those are present on the packaging too.