PepsiCo’s Greenhouse programme was designed to support emerging entrepreneurs and brands in the food and beverage industry through personalised mentorship

PepsiCo has announced Spudsy the winner of its second annual North America Greenhouse programme. Spudsy is a Costa Mesa, California, female-owned company that makes sweet potato puff snacks that are certified non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and sourced ingredients in a way that reduces food waste.

The six-month business programme, which began in February as COVID-19 was starting to change the retail landscape, awarded 10 emerging food and beverage brands the opportunity to partner with the company as they looked to scale their businesses. Collectively, the 10 participating companies in this year’s North America class were able to overcome challenges and grow their average revenues more than 240 per cent over the course of the programme.

PepsiCo’s Greenhouse programme was designed to support emerging entrepreneurs and brands in the food and beverage industry through personalised mentorship. PepsiCo mentors from brands including Bare Snacks, KeVita and Stacy’s addressed marketing, distribution, manufacturing, supply chain, packaging, label claims, fundraising, and overall challenges related to growing and scaling a business.

As the programme switched to a virtual format and eCommerce capabilities became more and more essential, PepsiCo also gave finalists an eCommerce immersion, leveraging company and partner experts.

“We are so proud of all of the finalists in this year’s Greenhouse programme who persevered during a time that has forced companies big and small to rethink and adjust their business strategies,” said Daniel Grubbs, Vice President, PepsiCo Ventures Group.

“The Spudsy team was able to not only show tremendous growth in a few short months but importantly was able to continue to build a strong purpose-driven brand. We look forward to seeing what they do with the US$100K/£76.2K grant.”

Spudsy was chosen as this year’s winner by a committee of leaders within PepsiCo. Initial finalists were selected based on their product and brand qualities, how they integrate purpose into their offering, and how they meet the needs of current and future consumers, communities and/or our planet.

Spudsy rose to the top based on their business results during a challenging environment, overall engagement in the programme, and strong brand purpose. The company’s ‘Save the Spud’ mission helps reduce food waste by upcycling imperfect sweet potatoes to create its sweet potato flour. Spudsy is on track to save approximately 1 million sweet potatoes by 2021.

“Our mentors really supported us in expanding our subscription business and overall strategy for expansion,” said Ashley Rogers, Founder of Spudsy. “They also helped us navigate the changing consumer landscape during a tricky time. We’re ecstatic to be able to use the US$100K/£76.2K grant to continue to grow our internal team and support our key retailers.”

PepsiCo first launched its Greenhouse programme in Europe in 2017 and expanded the programme to North America in the fall of 2018, awarding Austin, Texas-based Hapi Drinks, a sugar-free kids drinks company founded with the mission to fight childhood obesity, as the winning brand in the spring of 2019.

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