PepsiCo has launched a new incubator scheme, designed to nurture emerging nutrition and wellness brands.
The PepsiCo Nutrition Greenhouse has issued an open call for entrepreneurs participating in the health, nutrition and wellness spaces.
The new programme focuses on products aimed at European consumers and seeks to identify up to eight breakthrough brands, with successful companies receiving a €25,000 grant and entry into the six-month incubator programme. They will benefit from both in-person and virtual events, including being paired with executives whose industry expertise can help them address their immediate market challenges and accelerate growth.
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PepsiCo’s incubator scheme is not the first of its kind: Chobani has previously done something similar, and last month Fonterra launched a ventures incubator that will invite people and organisations to submit ideas for new ways of doing business. In the same way that crowdfunding has made venture capital more accessible, incubator schemes are bringing some of the world’s largest food companies closer to the people they work with – their suppliers, and the people that consume their food.
Last week, I had the privilege of speaking with DSM Food Specialties president Ilona Haaijer at the opening of DSM’s new biotechnology centre in the Netherlands. She told me that, in an increasingly volatile and unpredictable world, opening your business up was one of the few ways that companies could guarantee being early-to-market with a product. Its campus in Delft features laboratory and scale-up facilities for start-ups and innovators – a growing trend in a competitive landscape.
At the end of the incubator programme, one company will be awarded a €100,000 prize to continue its expansion.
Only brands with sales of less than €2 million will be eligible to take part in the scheme. It forms part of PepsiCo’s commitment to open innovation and collaborating with entrepreneurs and innovators who are helping to shape the food and beverage industry.
Juan Ignacio Amat, vice-president nutrition of PepsiCo Western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “In 2006, PepsiCo started on a journey to transform the way we do business so that we can deliver strong financial returns in a way that is sensitive to societal needs. We call this Performance with Purpose, and it includes a strong focus on transforming our product portfolio and offering healthier options. Our goal is for the rate of sales growth of our nutrition products to outpace the rate of sales growth of the balance of our portfolio.
“Consumer demand for more nutritious foods and beverages continues to rise and this is an exciting space for our industry. We have a tremendous opportunity to use our global scale and resources to influence positive change and our Nutrition Greenhouse programme aims to help nurture some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs in the food and beverage sector.”
PepsiCo senior vice-president global strategy and venturing Jim Andrew added: “We believe people all over the world should have access to convenient, great tasting nutritious products. It will take collaboration to make this happen and we want smaller innovative companies to see PepsiCo as the place to help them scale their business. We want to connect with entrepreneurs who share our Performance with Purpose vision to deliver growth in a way that is sensitive to societal needs. By working together, and harnessing the best of both of our organisations, we can put innovative new nutritious products into the shopping baskets of people across Europe.”
Though the company is best known for its sodas like trademark Pepsi and Mountain Dew, its desire to boost its foothold in healthy food is hardly a surprise; less than a quarter of the company’s sales come from carbonated soft drinks, and a year ago it announced that it would shift its attention away from colas and focus on healthier drinks and snacks.
The PepsiCo Nutrition Greenhouse will focus on helping emerging brands reach market potential by providing guidance on brand optimisation, product development, supply chain management, customer acquisition and distribution.
The programme will also address critical early-stage business issues like business planning, corporate structuring and fundraising.
Companies wishing to take part must submit their applications online by 25 May.
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