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Erie company selected for competitive Kraft Heinz incubator program

April 01, 2019 by Springboard Brands

Erie-based Ancient inGRAINed Snack Co, the makers of Ka-Pop! Chips, is one of five companies in the country to be selected for the Kraft Heinz Co.’s incubator program.

Kraft Heinz on Tuesday released the names of participants in its Springboard program .

The program, launched in 2016, nurtures and helps accelerate the growth of disruptive brands, according to a company news release. “All incubator teams fall strongly within at least one of the Springboard committed growth pillars: Natural & Organic, Specialty & Craft, Health & Performance,and Experiential brands,” according to the release.

The 16-week program, which runs Tuesday through end of June in Chicago, is about “learning, funding, infrastructure access and mentorship.”

Dustin Finkel, CEO and founder of Ka-Pop! is excited at the opportunity to be exposed to big players, resources and mentorship.

Thousands of companies apply for the program, but only a handful make the cut, he said. Innovative and authentic brands that resonate with consumers are better positioned for success, he said.

Springboard will be a great chance to create brand awareness to say the least, Finkel said. Smaller food companies in the business of innovation often are in need of more resources and time, he said.

“Only two of us are running the company,” said Finkel, who previously worked for General Mills, Abbott Labs and Horizon, and officially launched his company in April.

It’s possible some venture capitalists might become interested in his company at the incubator, he said. “We have a great product.”

Ka-Pop!Chips are made of sorghum sourced from farms in Colorado and Kansas, he said. “We’re working on a plan to let consumers know which farms it comes from,” said Finkel, who is this week showcasing his latest line of products at the Natural Products Expo West in California. “We’ve introduced a sweet flavor, Maple-Cinnamon, and a spicy one, Red & Green Sriracha.”

According to a report by Future Market Insights, the global plant-based snacks market is estimated to be valued at more than $ 31 billion in 2018, is expected to reach more than $ 73 billion by 2028.