FOOD VISION USA 2016... THE TRAILBLAZERS: Hippeas carves out new territory in snacks, 'What really gives me confidence is the level of consumer engagement'

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Give peas a chance? It's tough breaking into the ultra-competitive snacks market with a brand that resonates across all retail channels, but Hippeas - one of three winners in this year's trailblazers challenge at Food Vision USA - has managed to pull it off. So what is founder Livio Bisterzo doing differently?

“I think people have confidence in us because we are well-funded, we have the capacity in place to grow, and we have created a comprehensive brand and a proposition that is market ready – in the way that a big brand would be – but we also meet all of the major consumer trends," he told FoodNavigator-USA editor Elaine Watson after presenting on the opening night of Food Vision USA. 

"But what really gives me confidence is the level of consumer engagement; we’re getting 200-300 emails a day from people telling us they love the product or asking where can I get it?”

Hippeas debuted on both sides of the Atlantic simultaneously in summer 2016, and has already secured shelf space at 18,500+ stores from Starbucks (nationwide), Whole Foods Market (one region this year, several more in 2017), and Amazon in the US, to WH Smith (travel division), Boots, Holland & Barrett and Waitrose in the UK.

Talks are also progressing with major retailers and foodservice providers in both markets, said Bisterzo, founder of brand owner Green Park Brands, who reckons that Hippeas could achieve wholesale revenues of $35m by the end of 2018 if sales continue on their current trajectory.

“I wanted to create something scalable that would appeal to Millennials around the globe, a brand with global appeal in a high velocity food category that would deliver on taste.

“There are several roasted chickpea snacks out there but I’ve not seen anything else extruded and baked like this before.”

Trailblazers is a new initiative at Food Vision USA designed to celebrate early stage food & beverage companies that are bringing something genuinely new to the table from a formulation, sourcing, branding, marketing or business model perspective.

The three winners in 2016 - Afineur, Hippeas and Shaka Tea - were selected by the editorial team and got to present their innovations to our expert panel on stage at the conference (Seth Goldman, founder of Honest Tea and executive chairman of Beyond Meat; John Haugen, general manager of General Mills’ venture fund, 301 INC; Jason Starr, head of funds at online investment platform, CircleUp; Jon Sebastiani, founder and CEO of the venture fund and consumer brands incubator, Sonoma Brands (and founder of KRAVE Jerky).

WATCH OUR VIDEOS WITH THE OTHER TWO TRAILBLAZERS:

The eight runners up – who also wowed us with their innovative products – are: Pure Growth Organic Brami , American Ostrich Farms Willow Cup , Levels , Once Upon a Farm , Kenya Purple Tea , and Oh Yes Foods!

We'll be launching the initiative again in 2017, so keep your eye on the Food Vision USA website for updates...

The music is courtesy of Accelerated Ideas.   

Check out the Food Vision Global site to find out more about Food Vision in London in March 2017, which will also feature a Trailblazers challenge.

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