CHICAGO — Mars Inc. is getting into early-stage food business development with the launch of its new Seeds of Change Accelerator. Product categories of interest to the company include flavors, plant-based products, convenient meal solutions, “responsible food” and “creating with care.”
“We’re committed to nurturing the next generation of food innovators who are dedicated to creating and delivering healthier and tastier food solutions for more people,” said Fiona Dawson, global president of Mars food, multi-sales and global customers and sponsor of the program. “The accelerator is one of the many ways Mars Food is working to bring our Purpose — Better Food Today. A Better World Tomorrow — to life.”
The new business accelerator will include six U.S.- and four Australia-based food companies. Each will receive a $50,000 grant and take part in a four-month program to scale the business.
“The food space is moving at an incredible pace today: consumers’ tastes and wants are changing faster and more frequently than ever,” said Clarence Mak, chief marketing, sales and innovation officer for Global Mars Food. “The Seeds of Change Accelerator will help forward-thinking entrepreneurs and innovators scale their ideas and ultimately enhance the meals of tomorrow.
“At the same time, Mars also gains value in leveraging the accelerator as an external innovation tool and an opportunity to take a wider view across the food ecosystem to move the business toward the front line of rapidly evolving trends.”
While Mars is known for its leading positions in confectionery, Mr. Mak said the company is looking for new ideas across a range of product categories.
“We’re looking for applicants within the following categories: start-up food brands, innovative experiential offerings, new business models, and emerging technology companies that are dedicated to innovating delicious, wholesome and better food solutions for more people,” he said.
The accelerator program will be led by Gary Arora, global lead of open innovation at Launchpad for Mars and will give selected businesses access to a panel of industry experts, including Stephen Badger, chairman of the board of Mars, and JKR, a design-led creative agency that has launched other start-ups.
Entrepreneurs may visit www.socaccelerator.com from March 5 to May 31 to apply to be a part of the program’s first cohort.