Kraft Heinz-Backed Egg White Chips Brand Quevos Prepares For Whole Foods LaunchApril 09, 2019 by Springboard Brands
There is no brand that is quite like Quevos in salty snacks, a category that hit $24 billion retail sales in the U.S. in 2017, and is projected to exceed $29 billion in 2022, according to market research firm Packaged Facts.
In less than two years since two college dropouts decided to turn the crispy edges of an omelet into a product that can be enjoyed by both people with special dietary needs and the mainstream audience, their startup has taken the first place in the University of Chicago’s new venture competition, received seed funding from a group of angel investors, and was even selected to be part of Kraft Heinz’s first Springboard incubator class last summer.
Kraft Heinz, which did not take any equity stake in companies participating in its incubation program, previously offered customized advice, commercial kitchen, pilot plants, as well as branding and marketing lessons to Quevos.
But all of this is just the beginning. Cofounders Zack Schreier and Nick Hamburger recently started a new Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $10,000 to bring their high-protein, low-carb chips made from egg whites to the next level.
As of April 7, over 400 backers have poured in nearly $30,000, more than double Quevos’s original target, while the campaign still has 26 days before it closes.
“We are going to use the funding to scale our production, capacity, and as soon as the campaign is complete, we will launch our products once again on our website and expand into other retail channels,” Schreier told me in a phone interview.
“Kraft has been super helpful. We can always reach out to their experts when we have questions. They also have great resources, but they have no decision-making power [over us].”
He noted that Quevos is currently in discussion with several Midwest-based health food chains and the company hopes to stock its products in their stores by year end. The company’s bigger goal is to make its products available in Whole Foods across the U.S. in 2020.
Filling white space in protein snack aisle
The Chicago-based snack brand is mostly available in the regional specialty channel at the moment, Hyde Park Produce Market, Chicago Health Foods, to name a few, because that is where Quevos believes it can appeal to health-focused shoppers the most.
“It’s easier to stand out there than in a big grocery store,” Schreier said, adding that understanding core audiences is important to the future growth of an early-stage consumer company. “We’re fortunate enough to have a snack that works for a growing market of enthusiastic keto dieters.”
The ketogenic diet, known for its high-fat and low-carb content, has become global craze in recent years, especially among people looking to shed pounds. Several new entrants to the snacks market that capitalize on the trend, including Love Good Fats, have been able to quickly scale their distribution.
ResearchAndMarkets analysts predict that the global keto diet market will register a CAGR of close to 5% from 2019 to 2023, driven by the increasing awareness of health-related issues such as obesity.
Although Quevos will continue to consider keto as one of its main appeals down the road, it does not intend to be an entirely keto-focused snacks company.
“Keto’s popularity will increase, but we have been careful not to label ourselves as a keto brand. [Just in case] the dietary trend goes away, there is still a place for us in the market,” Schreier said.
In addition to being natural, gluten- and soy-free, Quevos also contains six grams of fiber per serving as Schreier noted the ingredient has been largely neglected by other protein products.
“We took that seriously, and we formulated in a way that fiber is an important part of our snacks,” he said. “Our main point of differentiation is that our protein comes from egg whites. There’s not a lot of healthy snacks out there that are egg whites-based and are high in protein,” 10g per serving in Quevos’ case.
Schreier added the biggest challenge was creating the product itself when the company started. “You can imagine making a full-fledged chip out of egg whites as we spent months after months [experimenting various cooking techniques] … All I can say is the product is made through a dehydration process.”
New flavors and packaging
The money raised from Quevos’ Kickstarter campaign will also support the rollout of the company’s new flavors and packaging.
“Barbeque and cheddar flavors will be first available to our Kickstarter backers around late May and early June,” Schreier said, noting that these new products are designed more for mainstream consumers. “Right now, we are actually releasing a sour cream onion variety in the keto form because people really love the flavor.”
The team also learned that Quevos’ original packaging, which in their own words “clean, white and simple,” do not pop on shelves, and is the revamping the whole snacks line with a more colorful version.
“It’s really important to drive trial for a product like this,” Schreier said. “We need people to be drawn in when they see our packaging. We also believe in-store demos are an important strategy to gain more attention to our brand. That’s something we’ll continue to do in the future.”