Founded by Nick Hamburger and Zack Shreier, two Chicago-area childhood friends, the idea for Quevos stemmed from Shreier, who as a Type 1 diabetic, must diligently monitor what goes into his body.
Eggs had always been a safe bet for Schreier's diet (because of their low carbohydrate count), but the problem was they weren't very snackable. However, Schreier noticed how much he enjoyed the crispy remnants of eggs left over in the pan after cooking, and with the help of Hamburger, turned their discovery into a brand of egg white-based chips known as Quevos.
Hamburger and Shreier went about growing the brand in typical startup fashion – dropping out of college, seeking funds from friends and family, and raising over $70,000 through crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter – to take their concept of egg white chips to shelf.
Quevos chips come in two varieties: Classic flavors which provide 5g of protein and 5g of fiber per bag and a keto-friendly version which delivers 8g of protein, 4g of fiber, and 4g of net carbs.
Vote of confidence from KIND Snacks founder
Chosen as one of the many startups to pitch their business on ABC's Shark Tank, Hamburger and Schreier ended up striking a deal with snacking industry veteran and business leader, Daniel Lubetzky (terms of the deal were a $200,000 investment in exchange for 10% equity in the company, plus a $200,000 line of credit).
Lubetzky, who founded KIND fruit and nut bars in 2004 and grew the business into a multi-billion-dollar global wellness company (before selling KIND North America to Mars in November 2020 in a reported $5bn deal), was the jolt the brand needed to propel its next chapter of retail growth, said Hamburger.
"To have Daniel with us to grow in retail is one huge thing, but also to guide the brand packaging and messaging and storytelling... he did such a good job with that at KIND and built out a brand image for them in a really masterful way," said Hamburger.
Over the past few years, retail growth has been steady and Quevos, whose products are available in Whole Foods Illinois stores, Wegman's, The Vitamin Shoppe, and several independent retailers bringing its total store count to 1,000+. Most of the brand's growth has been in the direct-to-consumer channel, specifically on Amazon, said Hamburger.
"The real game changer for us was launching on Amazon, and it was great way to tap into that keto and fitness market that was so well established there," Hamburger told FoodNavigator-USA.
According to Hamburger, Quevos grew 3X in 2020 vs. 2019, and the company is projected to replicate similar levels of growth in 2021.
"We want to see how far e-comm can get us but at the same time we know that most snack companies have had to get into 10,000+ stores to really explode," Hamburger said.
But is there room in the functional snack set for a better-for-you, clean-label chips brand boasting added protein content?
According to The NPD Group's 'Eating Patterns in America' report, over the past five years, Americans have added 25 between-meal snacking occasions per capita (from 505 between-meal snacking occasions per capita in 2015 to 530 in 2020) and consumption of snack foods at meals increased from 21% in 2010 to 26% of snacking occasions in 2020.
And increasingly, as consumers are looking to satisfy their next in-between snacking craving, products that can satiate and provide some nutrition are becoming more in-demand, said Hamburger, who said the chips category is still ripe for added protein innovation.
"It's been done in the bar category, in ice cream, and in popcorn, but chips are kind of the last frontier. I think Daniel recognized that there’s still this white space to be had," said Hamburger, adding that the brand's stiffest competition in the market is Quest Nutrition which makes a line of protein chips.
But Hamburger believes that while Quest has made its mark on the fitness world, Quevos can reach the everyday snacker who's looking for a convenient, protein snack. He added that its audience skews heavily towards female (roughly 70%) and between the ages of 25- to 40-years-old.
“I am excited to help Nick and Zack fulfill Quevos’ potential. They have created a very cool and differentiated product with huge mainstream appeal. And I love that they’ve been best friends and partner entrepreneurs since childhood,” said Lubetzky.