Multinational brand PepsiCo recently chose California-based vegan snack company Spudsy as its 2020 winner of the second annual North America Greenhouse program—an incubator for emerging, mission-driven companies. The woman-owned company upcycles imperfect sweet potatoes to create snack puffs in flavors such as Vegan Cheesy Cheddar, Banging Bar-B-Q, and Vegan Sour Cream and Onion. Spudsy was one of 10 participants in the six-month program—which offered mentorship from Pepsi-owned brands in topics such as marketing, distribution, manufacturing, fundraising, and overall challenges related to growing and scaling a business—and was awarded $100,000 as the winner.
“We are so proud of all of the finalists in this year’s Greenhouse program who persevered during a time that has forced companies big and small to rethink and adjust their business strategies,” said Daniel Grubbs, Vice President of 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 $100,000 grant.”
During the program, companies were also given eCommerce mentorship to help it navigate the changing retail landscape shaped by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Pepsi chose Spudsy as its 2020 winner based on its business results during a challenging time, overall engagement with the incubator program, and its brand mission “Save the Spud”—which is on track to save approximately one million sweet potatoes by 2021 through its upcycling program.
“Our mentors really supported us in expanding our subscription business and overall strategy for expansion,” Spudsy Founder Ashley Rogers said. “They also helped us navigate the changing consumer landscape during a tricky time. We’re ecstatic to be able to use the $100,000 grant to continue to grow our internal team and support our key retailers.”
This year’s North America Greenhouse participants included Numilk (a nut milk machine company); Love Corn (a vegan corn snack company); and Nuttee Bean Co. (a fava bean snack brand).