NAPERVILLE, ILL. — KeHE is seeking innovative new food brands. The specialty food distributor announced it is accepting applications for KeHE elevate, a new program aimed at maximizing growth and success potential for early-stage start-ups.

“The struggles that emerging brands face within the retail landscape are tough,” said Katie Paul, vice-president of category management and growth solutions at KeHE. “In fact, 95% of new products fail each year, according to the Harvard Business School. KeHE is uniquely positioned to help suppliers via elevate, which is designed to alleviate those barriers by providing a broad range of growth and profitability support from our merchandising and sales teams.”

The program will focus on educating start-ups on the evolving landscape and expanding their points of distribution. The network of brands is designed to be small and intimate, not exceeding 200.

“We look for brands that are purpose-driven, have high-quality ingredients, are innovative in their category, represent a future trend, have a unique taste profile, and will appeal to consumers at the shelf,” said Rachelle Radcliffe, director of brand development at KeHE.

KeHE is one of North America’s largest fresh, natural, organic and specialty food distributors. Its portfolio of owned brands includes Cadia, Made With, Home Table, Sage Valley, Harmony Farms and Bonavita.