PepsiCo unveils latest cohort

PepsiCo unveils latest cohort

A start-up that treats cognitive disorders through "mind-tracking technology" and a firm that performs tests on gut health are among ten companies to have been selected as finalists in PepsiCo's latest accelerator programme.

The Quaker cereal and Lay's crisps owner is giving each of the ten firms US$20,000 and has awarded each a place on a six-month business programme, working with PepsiCo executives in R&D, supply chain and design.

In June, one of the ten will be awarded an additional $100,000 in funding.

Each of the ten companies chosen as finalists in PepsiCo's Greenhouse Accelerator operate in the broad field of consumer health.

"There's no question that Covid-19 has renewed consumer interest in taking control of their personal health and wellness, and we continue to explore how this evolves in the food and beverage space," Antonio Tataranni, senior vice president for R&D and chief medical officer at PepsiCo said. "Our research and development team continues to look for emerging and disruptive solutions that address consumer needs, such as creative innovations in personalised nutrition, functional foods and supplements, and new technologies that enable vitality."

Of the ten companies selected, five are located in Europe, including Barcelona-based Braingaze, which PepsiCo says has developed "a scientifically proven and clinically validated digital solution to detect and treat cognitive dysfunctions using mind-tracking technology". Sweden-based Carbiotix, which looks at "microbiome healthcare through modulators and gut-health-testing services" has also been chosen.

Four of the start-ups are based in the US, including BioLumen, a firm in San Francisco that "engineers 100% natural structured fibre that absorbs sugars and fats in the stomach", PepsiCo said.

The tenth firm is India-based Biosustain Labs, which develops sustainable functional food products for consumers "looking for specific health benefits from their foods", the company added. The fledgling business offers supplements designed to help in areas such as weight management and gut health.

PepsiCo first launched an accelerator in Europe in 2017, running a second programme in North America in 2018. Previous winners include Spudsy, a fledgling US snacks business making sweet-potato puffs from upcycled ingredients, and Yofix, an Israeli company manufacturing dairy- and soy-free yogurts.

Read: Hatching new ideas - Big Food's incubator and accelerator programmes.