Mars’ accelerator’s first cohort focuses on plant-based products & easy-meal solutions

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mars’ accelerator’s first cohort focuses on plant-based products & easy-meal solutions

Related tags: Innovation, startups, accelerator

The first cohort of Mars’ SEEDS of CHANGE accelerator shines a light on where the food giant predicts consumer preferences are heading with a heavy focus on plant-based, world-flavors and time-saving short-cuts for easy-meal solutions.

The six companies also all share a vision of the future of food that aligns with the Mars Food’s recently revamped mission “Better food today. Better world tomorrow,”​ according to the July 22 announcement.

When Mars Food announced the launch of its SEEDS of CHANGE accelerator​ at Natural Products Expo West this spring, Clarence Mak, the chief marketing, sales and innovation officer of global food at Mars explained that a top priority for the program is to “really bring that purpose to life by working with startups to make sure they can scale their business, but also lift the purpose.”

In the announcement, Gary Auror, Mars SEEDS of CHANGE Accelerator lead, echoed Mak’s sentiment. He explained: “The world is changing at a rapid pace with consumer needs evolving and new approaches and technologies transforming business,”​ but through the accelerator Mars Food will be better positioned to respond to those changes and support its mission by learning from “forward-thinking innovators” ​with “purpose-driven food-focused visions.”

It is clear from the selection of companies in the first cohort that Mars Food sees plant-based as playing a role in that mission and its future.

Three of the six companies selected to participate are focused on plant-based options, including:

  • Fora​, which makes non-dairy Faba Butter from aquafaba – the thick liquid left over from cooking chickpeas. The ingredient has a near cult-like following among vegans who prize it for its creamy mouthfeel and functional benefits that resemble butter or egg whites. With the rising popularity of hummus, the ingredient also is bountiful as a by-product of preparing the dip’s main ingredient. By redirecting the ingredient, the company also is tapping into another emerging trend of food waste reduction.
  • NoBull Burger, ​which makes premium veggie burgers from “only real food, high-quality ingredients.”
  • Prommus, ​which makes a line of “value-added hummus, while helping provide school meals to children in food-insecure areas of the world.”

The other three members of the cohort align with Mars Food’s mission by offering easy meal solutions. They include:

  • Brooklyn Delhi​, which makes condiments and sauces inspired by traditional Indian flavors and recipes.
  • Oxtale, ​which works with chefs to create “starters”​ that help consumers cook traditional dishes in under 30 minutes.
  • True Made Foods​, which uses vegetables to sweeten classic condiments such as ketchup, BBQ sauce and sriracha while also upping the fiber and nutrient content and reducing added sugar.

The six participants were selected by a panel at a live pitch event in Chicago last week from a list of 10 finalists who, in turn, were whittled down from more than 200 applicants.

As members of the first class of the SEEDS of CHANGE accelerator, each company will receive grants up to $50,000 based on their need. They also will work with industry experts during a four-month program specifically tailored to help them meet their goals.

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