Start-up incubation: Fermented kraut and egg-white chips among Kraft Heinz Springboard choices

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14 May 2018 --- Springboard, a platform launched by Kraft Heinz in March 2018 to nurture, scale, and accelerate the growth of disruptive brands, has announced its inaugural Incubator Program class. The program was created to help nurture and develop the next generation of food and beverage brands, nurturing and being close to entrepreneurs, new ideas and consumer trends.

“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, Springboard Brands. “We are excited to kick off our program with a group of great founders, amazing and purposeful products, that we wholeheartedly believe will succeed in the marketplace.”

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Springboard selected five startups to kick off with: Ayoba-Yo, Cleveland Kraut, Kumana Foods, Poppilu and Quevos. “These companies demonstrate authentic propositions, first to market with strongly distinguished propositions and inspired founders within one of four pillars that are shaping the future of the food and beverage space: Natural & Organic, Specialty & Craft, Health & Performance and Experiential brands,” a spokesperson for Springboard tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

Over the course of the next 16 weeks, the selected start-ups will participate in a dynamic program composed of learning, funding, infrastructure access, and mentorship in Chicago.

The following five companies have been selected:

Ayoba-Yo introduces high quality, nutritious, and delicious alternative to traditional beef jerky and meat sticks, known as Biltong & Droewors. Founders and South-African native brothers, Wian and Emile van Blommestein, introduced their 400-year-old family recipe to the market in 2017. Their 14-day air-drying process, combined with high-quality meat cuts and spices deliver incredibly tender, savory, and sugar-free products with no shortage of flavor. “We know that the market is ready for a healthier beef snack and with the help of Springboard we will be able to accelerate our growth and build a thriving company that will change the way Americans view the meat snack category,” a spokesperson comments.

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Cleveland Kraut is perfectly positioned to grow within the fermented foods market. A bold brand, grounded in and proud of its Cleveland heritage, dedicated to serving the great tasting healthy fermented foods at a fair price. The team is led by Drew Anderson who, along with his brother Mac and brother-in-law Luke, aim to be the kings of fermented foods by expanding from their kraut roots. “We are humbled and excited by the opportunity to learn from such a great organization with an extensive history of building world-class brands,” a statement reads.

Kumana, best known for its signature Venezuelan-inspired Avocado Sauce, is a Los Angeles-based company creating original sauces representing the diverse and delicious flavors from different regions of the worlds. The Venezuelan native, Francisco Pavan, and his partner Todd Vine channeled their passion for pure discovery into the core values of this brand. “Springboard offers the expertise that Kumana needs to make an impact, and we are thrilled to learn from the best in the business while creating great products that will shape the future of food,” a statement reads.

Poppilu, a Chicago-based antioxidant lemonade brand, gives consumers permission to love lemonade again. Melanie Kahn, Poppilu’s founder, has developed a truly irresistible, mouth puckering, high-antioxidant citrus refreshment. It features Midwest-grown aronia berries, one of the highest antioxidant fruits in the world, and is one of the many reasons this brand will soar. Poppilu founder Melanie Kahn says that she is looking to refine the brand, work on its pipeline of new products and help propel Poppilu to become a mainstream commercial beverage brand.

Quevos, believes the days of sinful snacking are over – it’s time to munch on snacks made from real food that taste great and are even greater for you. Quevos are salty and crunchy egg-white chips, that are low in carbs and fat, and packed with protein. The disruptive brand was founded by young, ambitious University of Chicago students Nick Hamburger and Zach Schreier. “We look forward to learning from the experience of the other Springboard companies, and working with Kraft Heinz staff to learn how to best position ourselves for an explosive online launch of our first product: high-protein, low-carb egg white chips,” a statement from the company reads.

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In line with Innova Market Insights' trend #1 for 2018 (“Mindful Choices”) processing methods that inspire consumers’ trust are strongly in vogue. Fermentation is the key predecessor of “simpler” processes and these types of foods and beverages have been key beneficiaries from the trend. Innova Market Insights reports a +35 percent rise in US food and beverages that claim to use a fermentation process (2016 vs. 2015), with fermented foods strongly trending.

Innova Market Insights emphasized this back in 2015, presenting it as part of the move to processing the natural way, which was one of its Top Ten Trends for 2016.

Key categories for fermentation outside the dairy category include sauces and seasonings, bakery and beverages, with pickles, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, sourdough bread and kombucha proving to be particularly prominent.

Yogurt is probably the best-known fermented food and it had already moved into the public awareness with the rise of probiotic yogurt in the mid-1980s and a greater focus on its health benefits, particularly about digestive and immune health.

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Meanwhile, the trend for artisanal is also something that sets the product apart from the rest because it has been made with real, extraordinary expertise and flair. It conjures up images of something being homemade with high-quality ingredients in a non-merchandised and more thoughtful way – all factors that play right into what today’s ethically-minded and health-conscious consumers are looking for.

Craft products play directly into artisan and premium, not least because the word ignites the same sort of connotations as artisan – a carefully and well-made product worthy of a premium price-tag.

Slow food – food that is produced or prepared by local culinary traditions, typically using high-quality locally-sourced ingredients – also plays into the artisanal category as the concepts have much in common.
By Robin Wyers

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