CHICAGO — Five start-ups have been selected for the inaugural incubator program class for the Kraft Heinz Co.’s Springboard platform, which is dedicated to scaling and accelerating food and beverage brands.
“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 Brands. “We are excited to kick off our program with a group of great founders and amazing and purposeful products that we wholeheartedly believe will succeed in the marketplace.”
The incubator class will take place over the next 16 weeks in Chicago, where the selected start-ups will participate in a program composed of “learning, funding, infrastructure access and mentorship,” Springboard said. The start-ups will have access to pilot plants and culinary kitchens at the Kraft Heinz Innovation Center in Glenview, Ill. They also will receive $50,000 funding and a chance to earn up to $50,000 more during the program.
The five start-ups chosen for Springboard’s first incubator program are:
Ayoba-Yo, maker of South-African meat snacks called Biltong and Droewors. Founded by South-African native brothers, Wian and Emile van Blommestein, Ayoba-Yo first introduced its 400-year-old family recipe to the market in 2017. Biltong, a sliced beef protein snack, is made with beef that has been marinated and air dried for more than 14 days then sliced thin into bite-size pieces. Droewors, air-dried beef sticks, are made with finely ground beef spiced with coriander, cloves, salt and pepper that is stuffed into a natural casing and hung to dry for more than five days. Both Biltong and Droewors contain 31 grams of protein per serving and are gluten-free, paleo and keto friendly and contain no sugar.
Cleveland Kraut, creator of specialty sauerkrauts in such varieties as whiskey dill, roasted garlic and curry kraut. The fermented food company was founded by brothers-in-law Drew Anderson and Luke Visnic.
Kumana, maker of Venezuelan-inspired avocado sauces representing regional flavors from around the world. Founded by Venezuelan native Francisco Pavan and his partner Todd Vine, the company’s sauces are made with avocados, onions, bell peppers, cilantro, garlic and white vinegar and come in original, sweet and hot varieties.
Poppilu, producer of antioxidant lemonades made with Midwest-grown aronia berries. Founded by Melanie Kahn, Poppilu lemonades come in three varieties: original, passionfruit and blueberry lavender.
Quevos, creator of crunchy egg-white chips made with four ingredients. Founded by University of Chicago students Nick Hamburger and Zach Schreier, the company produces salty snacks that contain 100 calories, 20 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbohydrates per bag. Flavors include paprika, cheese and sour cream.