Beef jerky from South Africa, avocado sauce from Venezuela and a sauerkraut from Cleveland are among the upstart food brands selected by Kraft Heinz to participate in its inaugural Springboard Incubator program.
An antioxidant lemonade, Poppilu, and a brand of egg-white salty chips called Quevos will also participate in the 16-week program, in which Kraft Heinz executives will provide support and expertise in go-to-market capabilities, research and development, and consumer insights.
Kraft Heinz formed Springboard earlier this year in order to develop what it called “the next generation of food and beverage brands,” while staying close to entrepreneurs, new ideas and consumer trends.
Major CPG companies such as Kraft Heinz, Campbell’s Soup and General Mills have increasingly looked at supporting disruptive startup brands to help maintain relevancy amid shifting food tastes.
“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,” Sergio Eleuterio, general manager of Springboard Brands, said in a statement. “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.”
The inaugural class includes:
- Poppilu is an antioxidant lemonade infused with aronia berries, a native Midwest superfruit said to contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants of any fruit in the world. Founder Melanie Kahn previously developed Fairlife milk, now a joint venture with Coca-Cola. Poppilu comes in three flavors, is high in vitamin C and contains a fraction of the sugar of most lemonade. It is currently available at Jewel, Mariano’s, Hy-Vee, Lunds & Byerlys and additional grocers throughout the Midwest.
“It’s a great honor to represent female food and beverage entrepreneurs in the Springboard Incubator Program,” Kahn said in a release. “I’m thrilled that Kraft Heinz believes in me and Poppilu and I’m looking forward to all the expertise they can bring to help the brand continue its expansion.“
- Ayoba-Yo is described as a high-quality, nutritious and delicious alternative to traditional beef jerky and meat sticks, known in South Africa as Biltong and 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 tender, savory and sugar-free products with no shortage of flavor.
- Cleveland Kraut is positioned to grow within the fermented foods market. Kraft Heinz described the company as "a bold brand, grounded in and proud of its Cleveland heritage." 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.
- Kumana, best known for its signature Venezuelan-inspired Avocado Sauce, is a Los Angeles-based company creating original sauces. Venezuelan native Francisco Pavan and his partner Todd Vine "channeled their passion for pure discovery into the core values of this brand," Kraft Heinz said.
- 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 college students Nick Hamburger and Zack Schreier.