CHICAGO — Mondelēz International Inc.'s innovation and venture hub SnackFutures selected nine start-ups for its inaugural class of the CoLab, an engagement program for early-stage wellbeing snack brands.
Introduced earlier this year, CoLab is deliberately designed to be a collaborative effort between entrepreneurs and the Mondelēz ecosystem to drive mutual growth. SnackFutures will provide participating start-ups with tools, technologies and access to networks and industry expertise, while also gaining insights, capabilities and prospective investment opportunities, as Convenience Store News previously reported.
According to Mondelēz, 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 doughnut brand run by founders Amir and Amin Bahari who each lost more than 100 pounds 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 are 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 Mondelēz International Global Head of SnackFutures Brigette Wolf. "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."
Each of the well-being snack brands will participate in a 12-week program, which will begin in June, with initial programming taking pace virtually. Participants will also receive a $20,000 grant.
Founded in 2018, SnackFutures is designed to push boundaries in snacking by capitalizing on consumer trends and emerging growth opportunities in well-being snacks around the world. The group's priorities support incremental growth against three key strategic areas: invent new brands and businesses, invest in early-stage entrepreneurs, and amplify the SnackFutures impact with the CoLab start-up engagement program.
Mondelēz International is based in Chicago. With 2020 net revenues of approximately $27 billion, its iconic global and local brands include OREO, belVita and LU biscuits; Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka and Toblerone chocolate; Sour Patch Kids candy; and Trident gum.