CHICAGO — Better Bites Bakery and Love, Corn have been selected as two of the nine early-stage food brands in a new collaborative program led by Mondelez International, Inc.’s SnackFutures innovation and venture hub.

Beginning in June, CoLab is a 12-week program offering workshops, one-on-one mentorship and a $20,000 grant to the nine startups. Mondelez will provide tools, technologies, access to company leadership and industry expertise while gaining insights, capabilities and potential investment opportunities. The program will culminate in a final showcase for brands to pitch to key stakeholders.

Mondelez said the application and interview process resulted in a diverse group of snack brands with different formats, well-being propositions, revenue and distribution footprint. The 2021 CoLab class participants are:

  • Better Bites Bakery: An allergen-free bakery line founded by Leah Lopez to provide choices for her son who had life-threatening food allergies.
  • Chasin’ Dreams Farm: A popped sorghum snack founded by Sydney Chasin who is reviving an ancient grain to bring more options and flavors to gluten-free snacking.
  • Elite Sweets: A keto donut brand run by founders Amir and Amin Bahari, who each lost over 100 lbs and wanted to keep the weight off with a healthy version of their favorite treat.
  • Love, Corn: A crunchy corn brand made with simple, non-GMO ingredients founded by family members Jamie, Gavin and Missy McCloskey.
  • Numa: Numa, which means daughter and mother in Chinese, was created by “Numa” duo, Jane Xie and Joyce Zhu, to honor heritage through healthier versions of their favorite childhood candies from Asia.
  • NuSkool: A low-sugar snacking platform co-founded by Joe Christensen and Kevin Healy after seeing friends and family members struggle with obesity and heart disease.
  • Snacklins: Founded by former radio personality and chef Samy Kobrosly, Snacklins plant-based crisps are like a vegan take on pork rinds.
  • Sourse: With the goal of making supplements accessible, Jenne Moore and Andrew Remlinger came up with vitamin-infused candy, starting with dark chocolate.
  • 12 Tides: A nutrient-dense, ocean-friendly snack founded by Pat Schnettler and Lindsey Palmer, made from kelp sourced from regenerative ocean farms.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better representation of what the future of snacking holds,” said Brigette Wolf, global head of SnackFutures, Mondelez International. “The founders are so inspiring and passionate about what they are doing. Working with them as part of the CoLab program is going to move the needle on their brands, support our innovation agenda, and ultimately help deliver on consumers’ desire for people and planet-friendly snacking.”

Since its launch in late 2018, SnackFutures has created and introduced five brands in the United States and Europe, including CaPao, Dirt Kitchen Snacks, Millie Gram, NoCoé and Ruckus and Co. It also has made minority investments in Uplift Food, Torr and Hu Products, which Mondelez subsequently acquired. The team has immersed itself in the entrepreneurial community to gain insights, discover trends and understand key business challenges startups face. CoLab represents a continuation of SnackFutures’ mission to reinvent snacking by bringing together big and small.