Kraft Heinz Springboard unveils inaugural incubator class: Ayoba-Yo, Cleveland Kraut, Kumana Foods, Poppilu, and Quevos

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Kraft Heinz Springboard unveils inaugural incubator class: Ayoba-Yo, Cleveland Kraut, Kumana Foods, Poppilu and Quevos
Springboard – a new Kraft Heinz platform dedicated to nurturing and scaling “disruptive” US brands - has unveiled its first incubator class, spanning meat snacks and egg white chips to fermented foods, avocado-fueled sauces, and lemonade with a functional twist.

Over the next 16 weeks, the five startups below will participate in a program offering tailored advice from senior leaders at Kraft Heinz, media training, a dedicated workspace, and access to commercial kitchens and pilot plants at the Kraft Heinz Innovation Center in Glenview, IL.

Kraft Heinz is not taking an equity stake in the companies, but has given each of the companies an initial $50,000 in funding and the opportunity to earn another $50,000 during the program.

Asked whether Kraft Heinz was looking to identify future acquisition targets, Springboard Brands general manager Sergio Eleuterio told FoodNavigator-USA: “As a matter of practice, we don’t get into hypotheticals or comment on possible opportunities. We are investing in these companies for them to thrive in the market and want to hold long-term partnerships with them.”

Authentic propositions, inspired founders

Asked what propelled the successful five start-ups to the top of the list, he said: “These companies demonstrated authentic propositions​, [and are] first to market with strong distinguished propositions and inspired founders within one of four pillars that are shaping the future of the food and beverage space: Natural & Organic, Specialty & Craft, Health & Performance and Experiential brands.”

As to how Springboard​ ​compares to the multitude of other incubators now targeting food and beverage brands, he said: “The program has been crafted to be a best-in-class program in the market, learning from other programs and looking into where the resources of the company would be more efficient to the startups.

“Startups will have the room to thrive in a collaborative work environment, and will be given invaluable business resources including dedicated workspace, tailored curriculum, access to state-of-the-art pilot plants and commercial kitchens, funding and very close connection to Kraft Heinz senior leadership.”

The five start-ups are:

  • The brainchild of brothers Wian and Emile van Blommestein, who grew up in South Africa, Ayoba-Yo​ offers an alternative to traditional beef jerky and meat sticks, with its air dried meat snacks known as Biltong & Droewors.
  • Cleveland Kraut​ is led by Drew Anderson who is on a mission to build a fermented foods empire with his brother Mac and brother-in-law Luke.
  • Los Angeles-based Kumana Foods​ - ​run by Venezuelan native Francisco Pavan and his partner Todd Vine, has developed avocado-based sauces inspired by a Venezuelan staple that is traditionally drizzled on grilled meats, sautéed vegetables and sandwiches.
  • Chicago-based lemonade brand Poppilu​ features antioxidant-packed aronia berries grown in the Midwest.
  • Quevos​ ​-a low-carb, high-protein, brand of egg-white chips - was founded by University of Chicago students-Nick Hamburger and Zach Schreier.

Read more about Springboard HERE​.  

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