PepsiCo Announces 2021 Greenhouse Accelerator Program Finalists

Personalized nutrition, functional food and supplements, and emerging technologies are taking center stage in PepsiCo’s PEP +0.4% Nutrition Greenhouse Accelerator Program this year, as COVID-19 continues to drive consumer interest in health and wellness.

The CPG giant has selected the following 10 companies to be the finalists for its accelerator after reviewing more than 200 applicants last year, and will advise each of them on brand optimization, product development, supply chain management, customer acquisition, and distribution, in addition to awarding a $20,000 grant without taking any equity:

  • Braingaze is a scientifically proven and clinically validated digital company that detects and treats cognitive dysfunctions using mind-tracking technology.
  • Biosustain Labs develops sustainable, functional food products for consumers looking for specific health benefits.
  • BioLumen is a San Francisco-based nutritional technology company that engineers a 100% natural structured fiber that absorbs sugars and fats in the stomach.
  • Carbiotix AB is pioneering microbiome healthcare through modulators and gut health testing services.
  • Canomiks is a Minnesota-based company that uses its genomics and AI-based product superiority platform to help companies in the functional food and beverage, dietary supplement and skincare industries develop safe and efficacious products.
  • LifeNome-Ask Sophie is a precision pregnancy nutrition and health company targeting expecting mothers’ unique biological needs from preconception to post-delivery.
  • Melico Science uses advanced technology to provide metabolically personalized dietary advice using chemical fingerprinting of a urine sample.
  • Seqbiome offers microbiome sequencing, analysis and consultancy for industry to academia clients, and is looking to expand into a B2C offering to athletic consumers to improve or maintain their physical and mental performance.
  • Sphera Encapsulation uses patented technology to develop the next-generation encapsulated products, including functional foods or taken as functional supplements that have a meaningful social, environmental and health impact.
  • Zbiotics makes genetically engineered probiotics with its proprietary technology to provide specific beneficial functions for the human body.

This marks the third year since the Frito-Lay owner expanded the program from Europe to North America with sweet potato puff snacks company Spudsy, and sugar-free kids drinks company Hapi Drinks taking the crown during its previous 2020 and 2019 classes, respectively. MORE FOR YOUWinning With Purpose – PepsiCo Getting Beyond Words.The Ocean Plastic Crisis Needs An Intervention – Three Ways Investors Can Get Us Back On Track2021: The Year Of The Package

Similarly, one company will be chosen from this year’s finalists in June as the winner to receive an additional $100,000 grant, according to the managing director of PepsiCo’s ventures group, Daniel Grubbs.

While the evolving food and beverage trends continue to guide PepsiCo on which areas to invest, he said the ongoing pandemic is certainly accelerating the movement of wellness.

“We were ready for this round to be inline with the trend of COVID, and the increasing understanding of personalization and wellness, as well as companies driving the change from new ingredients, new technologies to new processes, [and those] really widening the aperture to include the broader wellness agenda,” Grubbs told me.

Unlike many snack and beverage companies PepsiCo has cultivated in the past, these companies, such as BioLumen, which engineers a natural structured fiber that absorbs sugars and fats in the stomach, and AI-powered AskSophie that helps pregnant women during their healthcare journey, require intense capital for research and development.

“Our R&D is a tremendous organization in terms of the expertise and knowledge, as well as our partnerships with universities and other institutions,” Grubbs noted. 

“We’re also able to leverage other functional groups across PepsiCo, even the consumer side of the equation, because many of these companies need to [decide] whether they’re selling B2B or ultimately being a part of the B2C solutions.”

PepsiCo is expected to expand its Greenhouse Accelerator by reviewing more global companies in the future, while continues to support its previous participants.