WILDE raises $20m to expand consumer awareness of protein-rich chips

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Image Credit: WILDE
Image Credit: WILDE

Related tags Wilde Brands Costco Protein

Protein snack brand WILDE raised $20m in a round led by private-equity firm KarpReilly, which will help raise the brand’s awareness as more consumers seek nutrient-rich foods to improve their health, Jason Wright, Founder and CEO of WILDE told FoodNavigator-USA.

Other investors in the raise include musicians Jack Harlow and Machine Gun Kelly, The Family Fund, Grey Space Group and other investors. Previously, WILDE raised $1.51m in Series A funding in 2020, and $1.28m in seed funding in 2018.

Focusing on retailers that ‘are serious about bringing protein to salty’ 

WILDE offers​ a range of flavored chips, which include 10 grams of protein from chicken breast, egg whites and bone broth. The current portfolio includes Buffalo, Barbeque, Chicken & Waffles, Himalayan Pink Salt, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Nashville Hot and Spicy Queso flavors, which are available in 20,000 doors, including at Whole Foods, Kroger, Walmart, Costco and Target. 

WILDE is "going deeper in some retailers," including Whole Foods, Target and H-E-B after securing sufficient distribution breadth, Wright said. The company is being "very careful" on how it grows the brand, aligning with retailers that are trying to deliver functional benefits like enhanced protein to their customers, he added. 

“What we really have focused on is when a retailer wants to get behind the brand, and they are serious about bringing protein to salty. We want to be in the conversation," Wright explained.

WILDE will use the funding to support brand-awareness activities, including demoing products at Costco and other retailers and sponsoring the Tough Mudder obstacle course events and other athletic events, Wright noted.

“We continue to evolve the brand. We are doing brand strategy work right now continuing to work on the voice to the personality, and what WILDE can be in the future," he said.

WILDE diversifies its consumer base at Costco

WILDE has driven “a lot of trial” and expanded its consumer base by selling at Costco, Wright said. Approximately 70% of Costco customers who purchase WILDE are female, which in turn means many children are now eating the product, he noted. The company has also noticed that children like the Chicken & Waffles and Buffalo, “which was a surprise,” he added. 

"We are doing some work to figure out who in the family is eating [WILDE]. We do believe that she is eating it. We also have a strong belief — and some data to point — that kids are eating it. Mom loves giving kids healthy snacks, and kids love chips, and to give the kids WILDE chips where they can have a crunch, a potato chip-like experience but yet get a complete animal protein, it is a win-win for everyone,” Wright said. “We see WILDE as being a product that anyone can enjoy, and you get an added value. We like to say a snack with substance. You get protein, but yet there is no trade-off between your favorite potato chip and the texture and the deliciousness of WILDE," Wright said.

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