The minority investment of an undisclosed sum will not change the day-to-day operations of Hu Products, but rather provide the capital and access to resources Hu Products needs “to grow and reach more people in a better and broader way than on our own,” Jason Karp, chairman and co-founder of Hu, told FoodNavigator-USA.
“In Mondelēz we have found a partner who has great scale, lessons and learnings that will help Hu reach more people and be more accessible without compromising one iota on our mission, our quality and our guardrails,” Karp added.
These guardrails include marrying great taste “with no weird ingredients,” and following a paleo-leaning set of principles, explained Jordan Brown, who along his sister Jessica is a co-founder.
By weird ingredients, Hu means a laundry list of “No’s” that it puts on its chocolate bars, chocolate-covered fruits and nuts – called Hunks – and its line of grain-free crackers. These include no soy lecithin, emulsifiers, refined sugar, cane sugar, sugar alcohols, dairy or soy, palm oil and gluten.
Hu landed on this list of taboo ingredients after the trio of co-founders experimented earlier in the decade with “alternative and then-fringe diets like anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, paleo, ketogenic, primal” and others at the start of the decade, according to the company.
“Many of these less-processed, ancestral diets made us feel fantastic and cured several ailments and auto-immune diseases. We eventually started describing this approach as ‘Get Back To Human.’ This is the notion that, in the face of the chronic disease epidemic of western society that can be mostly attributed to overconsumption of poor-nutrition foods, people can get back to thriving the way the human body is meant to thrive by seeking out simpler, more natural ingredients,” the company explained in an email.
Brown added in the email that the founders of Hu are “big believers that using … simpler ingredients can make people feel and perform better than thought possible,” and by partnering with Mondelēz the team will be able to advance its ‘Get Back To Human’ concept to a global audience.
A shared vision
Given the founders’ strong values and the bar they set for Hu, they were careful in their approach to finding an investment partner.
“We went through an intensive process of vetting and choosing potential partners because we wanted to be certain that our vision would be honored, and the partnership would allow for us to reach more consumers with our mission even faster and without compromise,” according to the email. “We are confident that Mondelēz and the mission of SnackFutures is aligned exactly with our vision of Hu.”
Mondelēz shares this sentiment based on a comment Chief Growth Officer Tim Cofer made on social media. He said, “Investing in Hu is a perfect fit within SnackFutures as our goal is to create a snacking world that is good for people , kind to the planet and deliciously fun.”
SnackFutures’ growing portfolio
The deal is Mondelēz International's second investment under SnackFutures, which launched last November with a goal of generating $100 million in revenue by 2022 by investing in early stage companies focused on well-being snacks and ingredients, premium snacks and ingredients and digital platforms and capabilities.
While this investment checks the first two boxes, SnackFutures’ first investment in the Chicago-based food incubator The Hatchery checks the third.