Latino-owned food startups tackle climate change25 Jul 2023
A growing list of Latino-founded food and beverage startups in the US are putting sustainability at the forefront of their businesses for the sake of the planet.
Earlier this month, ten Hispanic brands were selected as finalists in PepsiCo’s Greenhouse Accelerator Program: Juntos Crecemos (Together We Grow) Edition. They were chosen based on their potential to deliver “innovative packaged goods and transformative solutions to improve consumer experience, sustainability, and efficiency across the food and beverage industry”, according to PepsiCo.
Several of the small businesses make a significant commitment to sustainability. Bay Area-based FoodWare is focused on eliminating all single-use food packaging, Chicago-based Hyfé repurposes wastewater in the food supply chain, and Los Angeles-based Tia Lupita Foods uses sustainable ingredients like cactus in its line of food products.
Cactus, wastewater, and takeaway
Each of the ten startups included in the accelerator received $20,000 and a PepsiCo mentorship team, who will support the business during the six-month programme.
At the end of the programme, the startups will present their progress and one will be selected to receive a further $100,000. This is PepsiCo’s eighth Greenhouse Accelerator programme.
"We're excited to continue helping to fuel the growth of these Hispanic small businesses, not only through financial support, but also by providing them access to top-of-the-line mentorship and business resources," said Esperanza Teasdale, vice-president and general manager of the Hispanic Business Unit at PepsiCo Beverages North America.
In northern California, FoodWare is working to improve the circular economy. Its platform enables a collect-and-return system for reusable takeaway containers. The company utilises a mobile app and QR codes to track containers and reward customers for returning them. Currently it operates in restaurant, corporate, and university dining settings.
Hyfé repurposes the nutrients from trillions of gallons of food manufacturing wastewater to power the creation of carbon-negative essential goods such as foods, materials, and chemicals. Wastewater management is a serious problem in the food and beverage industry. Recycling more water with Hyfé can help manufacturers reduce exposure to risk and overall costs.
At Tia Lupita Foods, tortillas and tortilla chips are made with an unconventional ingredient – nopales, also known as cactus. Its products are grain-free, as well as high in antioxidants, fibre, iron, calcium, and potassium. Using cactus also helps the brand to reduce water waste and its food production carbon footprint.
"We are inspired by each of the finalists selected for this year's PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator cohort. Each company truly represents the Hispanic community's strong entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity," said Antonio Escalona, senior VP and general manager of the Hispanic Business Unit at PepsiCo Foods North America.
“PepsiCo Juntos Crecemos is a multifaceted platform part of PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey commitment to invest $50 million to provide short- and long-term support to Hispanic-owned food and beverage small businesses over five years,” PepsiCo said.
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