“When we look at our portfolio, the things that we are interested in are companies and products that are innovative and interesting … but we also are focused on the latest trends and particularly we invest behind trends that we think are here to stay,” AccelFoods Director Tapan Shah told FoodNavigator-USA.
He explained all six of the food and beverage companies in AccelFoods’ fourth cohort, announced Feb. 8, may appear to be niche, but actually meet high-demand trends that continue to grow and are far from saturated.
For example, Wandering Bear is a New York City based start-up that operates in the increasingly crowded cold-brew category, but sets itself apart with a new delivery format that AccelFoods thinks will take the category to another level, Shah said.
Instead of bottling the cold-brew coffee in a concentrated or ready-to-drink bottle, Wandering Bear packs its coffee in a bag in a box “so offices and homes can have cold-brew on tap, which is a real disruption for the market,” Shah said.
Another twist on the thoroughly entrenched coffee category are caffeinated coco-butter bites from Il Morso – a California company that provides craft coffee without the cup, Shah said. He added the products also are organic, Fair Trade and non-GMO – all long-term trends that are driving sales.
Gluten-free holds steady
Gluten-free is another trend that several of the new companies tap into, Shah added.
Purely Pinol is an ancient Aztec “power food” made with purple maize that is gluten-free and used in a line of hot cereal and snacks from Native State Foods.
Nona Lim, another new addition to AcccelFoods, also touches on the gluten-free trend, as well as several others, with a line of all natural soups that include rice noodles. The firm also makes bone broth and ramen, which are two other emerging food trends.
“This is a strong breadth of products that we see touching so many trends that are influencing the food and beverage space,” such as the demand for bold new flavors and ethnic taste profiles, Shah said.
Crunchsters, a Boulder, Colo., firm, makes sprouted mung beans, which meet consumers’ seemingly insatiable demand for high-protein and fiber products. Plus, as a salty snack, the product is aligned with consumer demand for on-the-go and convenient products.
Finally, Norther California-based Tea Drops offers a new, easier way for consumers to enjoy premium tea – which is a booming category, Shah said. He explained the company presses organic tea into whimsical shapes that can be easily dropped into hot water where they dissolve without the hassle and mess of tea bags.
Overall, Shah said, “we are really excited about these companies and all of the companies in our portfolio. And we are excited to see the new ones grow” and further develop key industry trends.