PepsiCo today (11 April) launched a call for applications for a business incubator programme to “nurture the growth of emerging nutrition, health and wellness brands” in the food and beverage sector.

The PepsiCo Nutrition Greenhouse initiative, which will see one winning company awarded a top prize grant of EUR100,000 (US$106,000) “to continue its expansion”, is focused on “products aimed at European consumers and seeks to identify up to eight breakthrough brands in the nutrition space”.

PepsiCo said each of the chosen companies will receive a EUR25,000 grant and entry into the six-month incubator programme, which will include “in-person and virtual events, including being paired with executives whose industry expertise can help them address their immediate market challenges in order to achieve accelerated growth in the market place”.

Applications for the programme close next month. The programme is open to “nutrition entrepreneurs with a market-ready health and wellness brand” having sales of EUR2m or less. Candidates for the programme cannot be in direct or indirect competition with PepsiCo or any of its brands, the company said. 

In addition to the grants, all companies taking part will have the opportunity to partner with its experts from brands such as Quaker, Alvalle, Naked and Tropicana.

At the end of the programme, one winning company will be awarded the top prize. The winner will agree to grant PepsiCo exclusive rights for a period of six months to make an equity investment on mutually agreed terms, the company said.

“These PepsiCo partners will work with the companies to help them realise their market potential,” PepsiCo said.

Programme leader Juan Ignacio Amat, who is vice-president nutrition for PepsiCo Western Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, said: “We have a tremendous opportunity to use our global scale and resources to influence positive change and our Nutrition Greenhouse programme aims to help nurture some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs in the food and beverage sector.”

PepsiCo’s senior vice-president for global strategy and venturing Jim Andrew said: “We believe people all over the world should have access to convenient, great tasting nutritious products. It will take collaboration to make this happen and we want smaller innovative companies to see PepsiCo as the place to help them scale their business.”

Andrew said: “We want to connect with entrepreneurs who share our Performance with Purpose vision to deliver growth in a way that is sensitive to societal needs. By working together, and harnessing the best of both of our organisations, we can put innovative new nutritious products into the shopping baskets of people across Europe.”