Full of beans? BRAMI lupini bean snack firm raises $1.5m in seed funding round

BRAMI lupini bean snack firm raises $1.5m in seed funding

BRAMI, the New York-based brand bringing the Mediterranean lupini bean to the snack aisle, has closed on a $1.5m seed round of funding led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures, AccelFoods and Enlightened Capital.

The money will be used on online and in-store marketing, expanding the firm’s manufacturing capabilities, and boosting its retail footprint, said Ben Lerer, Managing Partner of Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

"My thesis has always been that the best companies are those that fill a daily need. There are a ton of 'better-for-you' snacks out there, but BRAMI is truly unique -- and frankly, a no-bullshit, delicious, super healthy snack. 

“Combine that with a massive market, booming demand for clean plant-protein, and a founder I've known since I was three and believe in emphatically, needless to say, I'm super excited to continue to partner with this company.”

Unlike some European companies selling lupini beans, which pickle them in brine and sell them in jars or tubs, BRAMI founder Aaron Gatti sells them as a vacuum packed portable snack.

First he cooks his beans (he uses a European variety that’s grown in South America) and then pickles them with spices, sea salt, and citrus for several days.

He then vacuum packs them fresh, without the use of artificial preservatives, creating a fresh-tasting, moist but not mushy, snack with a shelf-life of more than a year (once opened, the product will keep for two weeks in the fridge).

Gatti explains: “People are taken aback as it’s a shelf-stable snack, but it’s not dry.”

Each 30g serving of Brami beans has 4g protein, 4g fiber and 35 calories, says Gatti, who notes that In Italy, some people like to ‘pop’ lupini beans into their mouths and discard the shells, while US consumers unfamiliar with this Mediterranean tradition often eat the whole thing.

The good thing about BRAMI beans is that the brining step makes the shells soft and flavorful, so either option works, he adds.

“Lupini beans have more protein and fiber per calorie than any other crop, and more minerals than coconut water [including folate and magnesium], but they are also a highly sustainable crop because they are naturally pest resistant, fix nitrogen from the air, and are drought tolerant.

"Lupini have this incredible ancient history. They were found in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians, meaning they wanted to take them with them to the afterlife. They also were part of the Roman diet, where they were known to be used as a portable protein for the soldiers on the campaign. So, we like to say that this is the bean that built the Roman Empire.

“Our innovation is to take this ancient snacking bean and make it presentable to the modern consumer.”

BRAMI Inc founder Aaron Gatti  

Hear more from Gatti at FoodNavigator-USA’s FREE to attend 60-minute LIVE pulse innovation forum on November 2, which also features speakers from Beanitos, Pulse Canada, Eat Well Embrace Life and Banza.

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