PURCHASE, NY. — Mexican-inspired snack company Chuza has been selected as the winner of PepsiCo’s eighth class of the Greenhouse Accelerator program. This year marked the first Juntos Crecemos (Together We Grow) edition of the accelerator program, which focuses on supporting new Hispanic businesses throughout the food and beverage industry.
Launched in 2021, San Diego-based Chuza offers an assortment of spicy fruit and vegetables that are seasoned with Mexican spices. The products are sold in more than 500 retail locations. Founder and chief executive officer Daniel Schwarz received a $100,000 grant and additional resources to grow the business.
A committee of PepsiCo leaders chose Chuza among 10 finalists based on achieving retail expansion and velocity growth during the six-month program. Each finalist received a $20,000 grant and mentorship from research and development, supply chain and design experts at PepsiCo.
"Selecting a winner was no easy task for the panel of judges because all 10 finalists showcased strong advancements in their businesses over this six-month journey in the areas of brand development, product optimization, scaling technology, business model development, go-to-market strategy and more," said Antonio Escalona, senior vice president and general manager of Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Foods North America. "Chuza's focus and commitment to elevating the snack segment, demonstrated throughout the entire process, inspires us to maintain that same entrepreneurial mindset at PepsiCo as we develop food and beverage solutions that deliver on flavor, function, health, convenience and sustainability."
Mr. Schwarz was honored in a ceremony at the PepsiCo headquarters in New York.
"It is truly an honor to be selected as the winner of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator: Juntos Crecemos Edition from such a talented pool of participants,” he said. “Over the past six months, my business has experienced substantial expansion and efficiency, all thanks to the invaluable guidance and support provided by the PepsiCo mentors.
“Consumers crave authenticity and diverse snack flavors, so with the $100,000 grant, we plan to expand brand and marketing development to raise awareness of my products and continue sharing our flavors, culture and flair with the world."A native of Monterrey, Mexico,Mr. Schwarz created Chuza on a “mission to share Mexican flavors, culture and flair” with American consumers.The initial product offering includes sweetened dried fruit dusted with a chili powder blend. Mr. Schwarz, a former tequila industry executive, began creating Chuza (which translates to “bowling a strike” in Spanish) during the early days of the pandemic.
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