American food company The Kraft Heinz Company has announced its latest project, Springboard Brands. An incubator program that intends to focus on growing certified-organic, vegan/plant-based, and locally-made food start-ups, the platform will “springboard” qualifying brands with a $50,000 investment. Kraft Heinz will also provide opportunities for networking and impart its expertise to chosen investees.
Springboard Brands will seek to accept brands that fulfill a category from one of four key areas. The company says these are the central pillars that will “shape the next generation of food.” These pillars are natural and organic, health and performance experiential brands, and specialty, and craft. The website notes that the products it’s looking for are likely to be certified organic, plant-based proteins, locally sourced, farm-to-table, or nutrient-dense superfoods.
“We’re hungry for emerging businesses ready to take on the challenge of changing how and what we eat. If your idea is fresh, disruptive, and fits into one of our consumer trend pillars, you might just be the perfect candidate for our Springboard Incubator,” the company explains, noting that the pillars include “super-premium, expertly-crafted products, often made using traditional methods and artisan techniques.”
Kraft Heinz is just one of many multinational food giants seeking to expand its portfolio via the emergent organic and plant-based markets. Tyson Foods, the largest producer of beef, chicken, and pork in the U.S. has invested twice into vegan meat producer Beyond Meat. It’s also funded Memphis Meats, a Bay Area startup using cellular agriculture to grow clean meat. And the company also announced recently that it would be venturing into the plant-based market with its own label of ready-to-eat plant-based meals. The Campbell Soup Company has also taken significant strides in the plant-based arena, becoming the first major food company of its size to join the Plant Based Foods Association. It recently announced that it’s investing in seeking vegan protein sources for its supply chain.
The first Springboard Brands incubator cycle will be held in Chicago between May 14th-September 1st. Applications are due prior to April 5th.