AUSTIN, TEXAS — Better Sour, a new gummy candy brand featuring globally-inspired sour flavors, has raised an oversubscribed $1 million pre-seed funding round and is slated to debut at Natural Products Expo West, March 8-11 in Anaheim, Calif.
The startup was founded by Bella Hughes and Semira Nikou, the daughters of Iranian immigrants and childhood friends from Honolulu. Better Sour represents the cultural influences and tart tastes of the pair’s heritage and upbringing in the Hawaiian Islands.
The candy initially will be available in two blends. A Middle East-inspired stone fruit mix features pomegranate, apricot and plum, while an Asia-Pacific themed offering includes guava, calamansi and ume. The gummies are plant-based and free from artificial colors and flavors, with 3 grams of sugar and 60 calories per serving.
“We’re positively obsessed with the flavor sour and are excited to create space for more diverse and inclusive flavors in our favorite category: sour gummy candy,” said Ms. Hughes, head of business development, who previously co-founded Shaka Tea, a bottled beverage brand that was acquired by King’s Hawaiian last year.
Ms. Nikou, chief executive officer, formerly a senior associate at a Washington law firm, added, “We’ve noted a lack of innovation in the candy aisle, with even the better-for-you set focused on Western-centric flavors. We created Better Sour as a response to the rising interest in global flavors and heritage-rich brands. Better Sour is the candy for today’s multicultural landscape, self-described foodies, adventurous eaters — and above all, Sour Seekers.”
Industry veterans Chris Robb and Michael Schall are advisers to Better Sour. Mr. Robb is the director of business development at Dirty Hands, a natural foods merchandising firm, and earlier co-founded New Barn Organics. Mr. Schall is a consultant for B. Riley Financial in the Los Angeles-based food and beverage practice and previously was managing director at FocalPoint Partners. Earlier in his career, he was senior principal of global growth and business development at Whole Foods Market. Mr. Robb and Mr. Schall touted Better Sour’s brand ethos and “distinctive” product proposition, as well as the founders’ “proven ability to execute with excellence.”Better Sour plans to focus primarily on brick-and-mortar retail channels and will be available through Pod Foods beginning in March.
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