Posts tagged with "Food Business News"

Gopuff launches accelerator for underrepresented entrepreneurs

September 13, 2021

Philadelphia-based grocery delivery platform Gopuff is launching a small business accelerator program to support entrepreneurs from historically underrepresented groups, reports Food Business News.

Selected startups will take part in a six-month program designed to help raise brand awareness through Gopuff’s platform. The accelerator, called Put Me On, also will provide tools and resources aimed at unlocking barriers to distribution.

Developed in partnership with professional basketball player Chris Paul, the program includes the launch and promotion of participants’ products on Gopuff’s platform, access to monthly workshops hosted by industry leaders, networking events; and one-on-one capacity building sessions with Gopuff’s marketing, merchandising and supply chain teams. Participants also will leverage Gopuff Advertising Solutions, a service that helps brands execute strategic ad campaigns on the platform.

Founded in 2013 by first-time entrepreneurs Yakir Gola and Rafael Ilishayev, Gopuff uses micro-fulfillment centers to deliver thousands of food and beverage products, pet products, cleaning supplies and over-the-counter medications, along with alcohol and fresh prepared meals in some markets, for a flat $1.95 delivery fee.

“As first-time entrepreneurs, Rafael and I know firsthand how impactful mentorship and community is in developing and growing a successful business,” Gola said. “Chris Paul has dedicated his time off and on the court to support entrepreneurs and we are excited to work with him to help aspiring entrepreneurs grow their businesses and reach new customers.”

Among the first group of Put Me On participants are the following;

  • A Dozen Cousins, a Los Angeles-based startup offering ready-to-eat rice and beans;
  • Cool Cat Wine Spritzers, a Miami Beach-based maker of low-calorie, gluten-free wine spritzers.
  • French Toast Bites Ale, Philadelphia, a line of ales inspired by popular Philadelphia street food;
  • Me & the Bees Lemonade, an Austin, Texas-based a line of lemonade featuring honey and flaxseed;
  • MUMGRY, a Vancouver-based nut butter brand;
  • Pipsnacks, a New York-based startup offering better-for-you versions of classic salty snacks;
  • Cards for All People, aColumbus, Ohio-bsed a toys and games company; and
  • Donata SkinFood, a Hollywood, Florida-based maker of vegan personal care products.

Entrepreners interested in participating in Gopuff’s next cohort may apply through the Put Me On website through October 24.

Research contact: @FoodBizNews

Spirited startup gives ice cream a kick

December 15, 2020

Five years ago, Kentucky native Jennifer Randall-Collins launched Liquorem Holdings—parent company of PRO/OF Alcohol Ice Cream—after getting her hands on an old family recipe for bourbon ice cream.

“In Kentucky, bourbon goes into everything,” Randall-Collins recently told Food Business News. “They put it in all kinds of food. I swear, they even put bourbon in their bourbon.”

Despite her roots in the Bluegrass state, she headed to South Carolina (where the regulatory environment allows for the combination of food and alcohol in one product) to launch a proof of concept. It started with taste tests in local bars and eateries.

“The first thing out of people’s mouth was, ‘Oh my God, where can I buy this?’” she said. “Initially, I was thinking on-premises in bars and restaurants, but the big response from people was that they wanted to buy it at retail.”

The first iteration launched in stores. The combination of classic ice cream flavors with bourbon, rum, or moonshine caught on quickly—and three years later Ms. Randall-Collins and her business partner Dirk Brown bought out their prior investors. They came back to market under the PRO/OF Alcohol Ice Cream brand with the vision of expanding across the country and internationally.

The company currently is in more than 80 stores throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida, and is gearing up to ship internationally in South and Central America. Proof is sold in liquor stores and grocery stores, as well as online through the Touch of Modern e-commerce platform and a new direct-to-consumer website.

“One of the biggest things that fuels our success is getting the spoon in a consumer’s mouth,” Randall-Collins noted. “Once we get them to taste it, there’s returning revenue.”

The brand offers three permanent flavors, mocha chocolate moonshine, strawberry moonshine and bourbon caramel, along with a rotating selection of seasonal flavors. This summer saw the launch of coconut rum and cheesecake moonshine varieties. In September, the company introduced pumpkin spice and apple pie moonshine; followed by pistachio rum, bourbon chocolate cherry, and peppermint moonshine in November.

“Keeping that rotation and keeping the menu fresh and relevant to the seasons has been very helpful for us,” Randall-Collins said.

All the flavors are 7% alcohol by volume (ABV), making each serving akin to a high gravity craft beer. The relatively high alcohol content helps Proof stand out in the emerging alcohol ice cream category.

“When I brought it to market in 2015, to my knowledge and to our intellectual property attorney’s knowledge, there was nobody in the space at the retail market,” Ms. Randall-Collins told Food business News.. “There were folks that were doing what I would call ‘infused ice cream,’ where it’s more of a flavor and not an actual appreciable amount of alcohol.”

Nestle’s Häagen Dazs, for example, offers alcohol ice cream under its Spirits Collection line. The products are made with ingredients like whiskey and rosé wine but are less than 1% ABV.

“We are distinctly different,” Randall-Collins commented. “Alcohol is not a main ingredient like it is in our products. We have had some folks follow us into the market and try to imitate us, which is very flattering and it’s good market validation.”

Research contact: @prooficecream

Brands see big potential in ‘nighttime nutrition’

February 25, 2020

Late-night snacks are being legitimized and “healthified” by snack brands, in hopes of creating a new and profitable niche in the industry, Food Business News reports.

A small but growing number of products designed for pre-bedtime snacking are entering the market. They’re healthier than traditional late-night fare—and offer the added benefit of promoting sleep and relaxation.

Among them is Nightfood of Tarrytown, New York, which launched a “sleep friendly” ice cream line last year. Available in a variety of flavors—including Full Moon Vanilla, Midnight Chocolate, and Cherry Eclipse—the products contain more fiber and protein (and, yes, fewer calories) than traditional ice cream. Ingredients like magnesium and glycine promote relaxation; while ingredients that may disrupt sleep, such as excess sugar, fat and caffeine, are reduced or eliminated.

“Just being delicious isn’t enough these days,” Sean Folkson, CEO at Nightfood, told Food Business News. “Neither is just being different. You need to be different, but in a way that actually matters to the consumer.”

Folkson learned that the hard way: Nightfood ice cream wasn’t the company’s first functional late-night snack—but it looks like the company’s first successful entrant in the niche. It launched a sleep-promoting nutrition bar in 2015. The brand struggled to generate consumer excitement around the product, but, Folkson said its modest results led to an important insight: When it comes to late-night snacking, consumers aren’t searching for better-for-you products like nutrition bars. They’re reaching for more indulgent items like potato chips, cookies, ice cream or candy.

“I now understand that providing night snackers with nighttime nutrition bars is like giving an eight-year old a pet rock,” he told the business publication. “Interesting, but not exciting or life-changing. On the other hand, providing night snackers with nighttime ice cream is like giving that eight-year old a puppy.”

And other companies—among them, Nestle-backed Goodnight and Milwaukee-based Good Source Foods, also are jumping on the bandwagon.

Goodnight launched last year through Foundry Foods, an internal incubator from Nestle USA. Available in milk and dark chocolate varieties, the brand’s before-bed bites contain L-Theanine, magnesium and casein protein, which interact with metabolic processes related to sleep regulation.

“(Goodnight) is confirming our beliefs that people are looking for a natural remedy for something they normally take in supplement form such as melatonin,” Doug Munk, director of New Business Ventures for Nestle USA told Food Business News. “We are also finding people are looking to replace some of their junk foods before they go to sleep with something that is a little better.”

The company currently is gearing up to launch updated “Goodnight 2.0” products following last year’s successful test run.

Good Source Foods uses dried cherries, which contain melatonin, and lavender, which is known for its calming effects, to make its Evening Calm variety of chocolate clusters. Designed to promote sleep and relaxation, the chocolates also contain turmeric, honey, oats, and walnuts.

Nightfood, Goodnight and Good Source Foods are some of the handful of brands tapping into nighttime nutrition, which Mintel called “one of the most compelling and category changing trends” in its annual Food and Drink Trends report. More than 80% of consumers snack regularly before bed, Mintel said.

There may be a biological component driving consumers to the kitchen at night. Appetite tends to peak in the evening, when cravings for sweet and salty foods are strongest. Willpower weakens throughout the day, so the later it gets, the easier it is to reach for the cookie jar or bag of candy.

At the same time, interest in better-for-you snacks is at an all-time high. As many as 80% of consumers seek healthier snacks that pack an added functional benefit.

“Scientific research over the last several years has helped us more clearly understand why people snack the way they do at night,” said Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona and adviser to Nightfood. “It seems we’re biologically hard-wired to default to sweets, salts, and fats as it gets later in the day.”

This may explain why more than 50% of consumers report dissatisfaction with their own night snacking behavior, despite spending an estimated $1 billion per week on snacks consumed between dinner and bed.

“More than half of that money … is being spent in a dissatisfied way, by people that want something better,” Folkson said.  “That speaks to, not only the size of the opportunity, but the immediacy and the motivation on behalf of the consumer, which is really powerful stuff.”

Research contact: @FoodBusiness