Kraft Heinz Launches 'Springboard' Innovation Incubator
Food and beverage giant Kraft Heinz has launched Springboard, a new platform to foster growth for ‘disruptive’ US food and beverage brands.
The platform aims to develop brands with an ‘authentic proposition and inspired founders’ within the following categories: natural & organic, specialty & craft, health & performance and experiential brands.
Kraft Heinz will support these founders with expertise in go-to-market capabilities, research and development and consumer insights, according to the company.
“We are committed to support and partner with teams that will impact the future of our industry,” said Sergio Eleuterio, general manager, Springboard Brands. “We are actively searching for emergent, authentic brands that can expand into new categories, and are looking to build a network of founders to help shape the future of foods and beverages.”
The platform is also launching an incubator program for food and beverage startups in a 16-week sprint in Chicago. From 7 March through April 5, Springboard will accept applications for first-to-market, disruptive food and beverage startups, according to Kraft Heinz.
The selected companies will receive financial support to build brands and guidance to raise additional funding.
The incubator’s infrastructure will also provide participants with a collaborative work environment and business resources such as workspace, pilot plants and commercial kitchens at Kraft Heinz’ Innovation Center in Glenview, Illinois.
They will be able to learn from the food and beverage giant’s management practice know-how, global operating scale and extensive food safety and quality capabilities, according to the company.
Kraft Heinz’ sales for last quarter came in at $6.88 billion last quarter, lower than analysts’ average expectations of $6.91 billion. This sobering performance added pressure on the company to fuel growth with a large acquisition, one year after its bid to buy Unilever was rebuffed.
It also highlighted the company’s difficulties to revitalise its portfolio of brands, such as Capri Sun, Lunchables, Oscar Mayer and Velveeta. Nuts and cold cuts were particularly weak in the American market last quarter, the company said.
The company's most prominent board member, business magnate Warren Buffet, recently announced his retirement from Kraft Heinz, due in April, although his firm, Berkshire Hathaway, will continue to have representatives on the ketchup-maker's board.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Kevin Duggan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.