Sugar-free children’s drink brand Hapi Drinks has secured a $100,000 grant as the winner of PepsiCo’s inaugural North American Nutrition Greenhouse.
The Austin-based company was the prevailing candidate out of a roster of ten diverse companies, who each still received $20,000 and mentoring from PepsiCo’s experts in strategic planning, brand optimisation, product development, supply chain management, customer acquisition and distribution.
The North American programme – a spin-off of PepsiCo’s successful European incubator – was launched last September. Its European equivalent, called simply Nutrition Greenhouse, has just completed its second year – with yogurt alternative brand Yofix receiving the €100,000 grant.
Karsten Idsal, CEO of Hapi Drinks, said: “The insights, guidance, and connections my PepsiCo mentors provided were invaluable and essential to unlocking new growth avenues for Hapi Drinks. We are passionate about our mission to fight childhood obesity by providing great-tasting sugar free kids drinks and it is fantastic to get PepsiCo’s support in our efforts.”
Hapi makes a range of flavoured and fortified water drinks.
During the six-month programme, all ten companies involved grew their revenues by an average of 200%, Pepsi claimed. Other successes stemming from the incubator include the launch of new product lines, as well as digital campaigns that have driven sales and new customer acquisitions.
“We are so proud of the progress that each of the ten companies achieved in the last six months, and it’s a testament to what happens when big and small brands come together,” said Daniel Grubbs, PepsiCo Ventures group managing director. “More than that, the programme has provided a very unique leadership experience for our colleague-mentors, who all feel energised by the agility, speed, and creativity that the entrepreneurs have embodied. They are excited to apply this entrepreneurial spirit to their day-to-day work at PepsiCo.”
With mounting pressure on mainstream packaged food, Pepsi is just one of several large companies to launch an accelerator or incubator scheme: in recent years, Chobani, Kraft Heinz, Mars, Nestlé, Dairy Farmers of America and Mondelēz International have all started or grown such programmes, just to name a few.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019