How This Firm Became One of the Biggest VC Funds in Food

As consumer tastes continue to evolve, the more demand there is for high-quality healthier products.

With that in mind, these suburban moms turned venture capitalists are on a mission to bring healthier packaged food brands to the masses.

Both Lauren Jupiter and Jordan Gaspar used to be in grocery aisles as “the people who read the nutrition facts, the people who read the ingredients in the two different products sitting next to each other on the shelf" and decided to launch the investment firm AccelFoods to help grow small packaged food products they believe in.

Found in 2013 with only $4 million, the firm now has three separate funds of $85 million.

The fund and the companies it backs have been a success because consumers have changed the way they shop at grocery stores.

They want “cleaner labels, more transparency, not having ingredient panels that are 60 items long and full of words that you can’t pronounce,” said Jupiter.

Today's buyers are willing to invest in higher quality products that are better for them. Food is now seen as fuel to millennials, the better the fuel or food, the better performance of the engine or body.

"The Baby Boomer generation that’s aging and looking for natural alternatives to traditional medicine...the millennial mom purchasing on behalf of her family and investing in allergen-friendly foods...digital natives who are willing to invest more heavily into the food they put in their bodies than even the house that they sleep in,” said Gaspar.

Read more about the firm and how it's fostering the growth of smaller food product companies at "Forbes' now.

Earlier in the year, we spoke to Gasper about how the firm is disrupting the industry with its companies in its portfolio offering innovative food products.

Listen to this episode of The Barron Report below, where host Paul Barron speaks with Gaspar about trends and what types of companies AccelFoods seeks to invest on.

PepsiCo to Acquire this Plant-Based Energy Bar Company

The food, snack and beverage corporation PepsiCo is acquiring yet another snack company, Health Warrior Inc.

Health Warrior's has a plant-based portfolio including chia bars, pumpkin seed bars, and superfood protein bars. The company has 12 flavors of health bars available but started offering two new products this year– protein mug muffins and the superfood protein powder.

These products will now be under PepsiCo's umbrella as part of the food and beverage giant's new emerging brands division.

Health Warrior was founded in 2010 by three college friends with the mission to provide the masses with plant-based snacks.

Their bars are now available at 12,000 retailers across the country, but Health Warrior agreed to make the deal with PepsiCo to grow the brand even more.

“The whole reason we started the company was to be able to provide more plant-based superfood options to more Americans,” said Shane Emmett, Health Warrior’s co-founder and CEO. “The ability to build a good consumer brand here and be part of the PepsiCo brand, that is something we are really super excited about with this deal."

Now the company will have the resources to expand rapidly.

“Now with the marketing resources and vast distribution network of PepsiCo behind Health Warrior, it is exceptionally well-positioned to reach its full potential,” said Ted Chandler, a former Health Warrior board member and a managing director of the venture capital firm NRV.

All of the 20 full-time employees will remain with Health Warrior Inc. under the acquisition deal.

PepsiCo has been on the look-out for more nutritious snacks, especially those that are plant-based considering the growth in this specific segment.

“Health Warrior is a nutrition-forward trailblazer that can provide great insight into high value categories and consumers while benefiting from our expertise and resources to bring plant-based nutrition to more people,” said Seth Kaufman, president of PepsiCo North America Nutrition.

Read more about the future of the plant-based company now that it will be a PepsiCo brand at "Richmond Times-Dispatch."

This deal proves that the plant-based snack market is on the rise. At the end of last year, we spoke to the CEO of Hippeas, a vegan snack foods company with products made from chickpeas about the consumer packaged goods industry and how healthy snacks are the future. Listen to the episode of The Barron Report below.

PepsiCo's Makes Hello Goodness Vending Brands, Better-for-You Snacks More Available Online

PepsiCo's Makes Hello Goodness Vending Brands, Better-for-You Snacks More Available Online

PepsiCo sees a lot of potential in the better-for-you snack market. 

The company's Hello Goodness vending brand is performing so well vending machines, that PepsiCo is expanding the line online.

These Vending machines featuring better-for-you snacks made more revenue. With the inclusion of Hello Goodness products, the vending machines saw a 59 percent boost in sales. 

Hello Goodness products appeal to health-conscious consumers. The snacks are baked, have lower fat content, and often contain whole grains. 

PepsiCo is pairing the healthy eating snack movement with consumers' love for online shopping. 

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