CHICAGO — Mondelēz International Inc. innovation and venture hub SnackFutures selected nine startups to participate in its third cohort of CoLab.
Now in its third year, the startup engagement program was designed to help build a portfolio of disruptive brands and venture pipeline for Mondelēz. Participants of CoLab receive a 12-week curriculum of virtual and hands on sessions, networking opportunities and a $20,000 grant.
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This year CoLab sought startups taking a unique approach to making snacks delicious, focusing on those that can strengthen Mondelēz's core businesses, as well as offer the potential to explore new categories.
The nine participants are:
- CocoTerra is an entrepreneurial personal chocolate maker. The CocoTerra machine enables chocolate lovers to create simply and easily their own dark, milk and white chocolate right in their own kitchens.
- DreamPops was created by ice cream and confection lovers who dreamed of enjoying iconic flavors in simple, nondairy treats but couldn't find any that satisfied their standards or sweet tooths. Their aim is for everyone to be able to enjoy plant-based, clean label frozen pops, bites and shelf stable candy crunch.
- Freezcake delivers small bites of fresh and creamy cheesecake that can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee or in the car. Crafted by a skilled pastry chef, every batch is prepared from scratch and ultra-dried at the height of its freshness.
- Incredible Eats allows consumers to treat themselves just a little longer with edible spoons and straws, which provide an alternative to single-use plastic utensils. They come in sweet and savory options, function for about an hour in cold foods and replace the use of single use plastics and dirty silverware.
- Legally Addictive gives consumers a sweet and salty experience all-in-one bite with its cracker-based cookies. The cracker base is topped with chocolate, handmade salted toffee and comes in a variety of flavors.
- Mezcla delivers a delightful combination of puff-crispy texture and plant protein in a crunchy snack bar experience. Each bar contains plant protein in unique flavor profiles.
- New Gem aims to make wrapping a serving of fruit/vegetable into the daily routine as easy as making a sandwich wrap or sushi. The plant-based wraps use innovative technology that make them alternatives to bread, tortillas and seaweed. Steiner's Coffee Cake of New York prides itself on bringing fresh ideas to coffee cake, using ingredients that make it so delicious and yet gluten free. Created by a New York grandmother who was diagnosed celiac, Steiner's still uses its original family recipe.
- Whoa Dough is a shelf-stable cookie dough bar created for health-conscious consumers. This "on-the-go" version of the iconic kid bowl-licking experience is plant based, gluten free and vegan.
"SnackFutures' focus is to curate a portfolio of disruptive brands that can give Mondelēz International first-mover advantage on snack innovation, get us even closer to the consumer, and accelerate our financial, reputational, and cultural growth," said Jackie Haney, head of CoLab, noting that the theme of each class and its participants are carefully curated to be a collective, growth-centric experience. "CoLab is pivotal to that because it allows us to work with, learn from and nurture early-stage brands that have the potential to scale."
The inaugural 2021 CoLab class featured diverse group of snack brands with different formats, well-being propositions, revenue and distribution footprints, and was comprised of nine participants. The 2022 CoLab class included 10 mission-driven brands.
SnackFutures is the Mondelēz International innovation and venture hub, deliberately 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.
With 2022 net revenues of approximately $31 billion, Chicago-based Mondelēz's global and local brands include Oreo, Ritz, LU, Clif Bar and Tate's Bake Shop biscuits and baked snacks, as well as Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka and Toblerone chocolate.