PepsiCo has announced the winner of its second annual North America Greenhouse program: Spudsy* – a Costa Mesa, Calif., female-owned company that makes sweet potato puff snacks that are certified non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, and sources ingredients in a way that reduces food waste. The six-month business program, which began in February as COVID-19 was starting to change the retail landscape, awarded 10 emerging food and beverage brands the opportunity to partner with PepsiCo as they looked to scale their businesses. Collectively, the 10 participating companies in this year’s North America class were able to overcome challenges and grow their average revenues more than 240 percent over the course of the program.
PepsiCo’s Greenhouse program was designed to support emerging entrepreneurs and brands in the food and beverage industry through personalized mentorship. PepsiCo mentors from brands including Bare Snacks, KeVita and Stacy’s addressed marketing, distribution, manufacturing, supply chain, packaging, label claims, fundraising, and overall challenges related to growing and scaling a business. As the program switched to a virtual format and eCommerce capabilities became more and more essential, PepsiCo also gave finalists an eCommerce immersion, leveraging company and partner experts.
“We are so proud of all of the finalists in this year’s Greenhouse program who persevered during a time that has forced companies big and small to rethink and adjust their business strategies,” said Daniel Grubbs, Vice President, PepsiCo Ventures Group. “The Spudsy team was able to not only show tremendous growth in a few short months, but importantly was able to continue to build a strong purpose-driven brand. We look forward to seeing what they do with the $100,000 grant.”
Spudsy was chosen as this year’s winner by a committee of leaders within PepsiCo. Initial finalists were selected based on their product and brand qualities, how they integrate purpose into their offering, and how they meet the needs of current and future consumers, communities and/or our planet. Spudsy rose to the top based on their business results during a challenging environment, overall engagement in the program, and strong brand purpose. The company’s ‘Save the Spud’ mission helps reduce food waste by upcycling imperfect sweet potatoes to create its sweet potato flour. Spudsy is on track to save approximately 1 million sweet potatoes by 2021.**
“Our mentors really supported us in expanding our subscription business and overall strategy for expansion,” said Ashley Rogers, Founder of Spudsy. “They also helped us navigate the changing consumer landscape during a tricky time. We’re ecstatic to be able to use the $100,000 grant to continue to grow our internal team and support our key retailers.”
PepsiCo first launched its Greenhouse program in Europe in 2017 and expanded the program to North America in the fall of 2018, awarding Austin, Texas-based Hapi Drinks, a sugar-free kids drinks company founded with the mission to fight childhood obesity, as the winning brand in the spring of 2019.
For additional details on the PepsiCo North America Greenhouse program, please visit www.greenhouseaccelerator.com.
*The descriptions of each startup are based on the respective company’s own words. PepsiCo has not verified the accuracy of the product claims of the companies, does not endorse, and is not responsible for the content, actions, or omissions of the companies.
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