About 4 years since the stylish chickpea puff snack launched, Hippeas has moved into practically 100,000 shops, elevated its fundraising, grown its brand recognition and altered its C-suite.
But founder and Chairman Livio Bisterzo instructed Food Dive the firm is simply getting began. He stated Hippeas plans to proceed scaling its distribution and outreach to turn into a family title. It additionally plans to launch new merchandise.
“We are a puff brand today, but over the next five years, we will launch innovation across a handful of different categories,” he stated. “The big vision over the next five years is, without a doubt, we will be a snacking platform that has the potential to operate across the different snacking categories.”
Hippeas raised $eight million in its most up-to-date funding spherical, which closed in December. Venture group CAVU led the spherical whereas barkTHINS founder Scott Semel and a few Hippeas staff additionally invested. The puff maker beforehand raised a complete of $14 million, based on Crunchbase.
“The funding has definitely helped us lay the infrastructure for allowing us to grow,” Bisterzo stated.
More than simply product innovation and fundraising in the future may facilitate additional development. Last yr, the firm introduced that Joe Serventi, who joined as basic supervisor in 2017, was promoted to world CEO. Bisterzo, who had served as CEO, grew to become chairman. Serventi oversees world enterprise whereas Bisterzo is accountable for brand advertising, innovation and the firm’s charitable work.
“We really recognized an underserved white space and we went after it. All our early stage retailers and still today, all of our partners, investors, stakeholders still feel there is an opportunity to build a brand that will become a household brand over the next 10-20 years.”
Founder and Chairman, Hippeas
Prior to Hippeas, Serventi led a number of small manufacturers that have been acquired by Big Food. He was govt vp at barkTHINS, the place he helped set up the brand earlier than promoting it to Hershey. Serventi additionally served on the Pirate Brands administration crew, working to revitalize it earlier than promoting to B&G Foods for $195 million. Pirate Brands is now owned by Hershey, which acquired it final yr for $420 million.
“He has a very successful track record of growing companies from small to big,” Bisterzo stated.
The puffs class continues to increase and extra massive corporations might be seeking to purchase rising manufacturers in the area. When requested whether or not Hippeas might be working to get acquired by an even bigger firm, the founder stated “potentially,” nevertheless it might be years down the line.
“Right now, we have so much opportunity, we have a clear path to keep growing this business exponentially, and we just want to keep doing what we’re doing,” Bisterzo stated.
Bisterzo stated the rise of the plant-based snacking development has helped the firm develop. He stated the firm’s audience is millennials — whom the firm deems modern-day hippies — desirous to eat extra better-for-you snacks that assist the world.
“We were very much at the forefront. We sort of picked early on the trend. It’s a growing category,” he stated. “There’s room for many newcomers, and to be fair, the texture of puffs is something that consumers really like. There’s been a lot of companies that have developed puffs over the last few years. We find it flattering, and exciting to see that we’re still leading the charge.”
Bisterzo has been a serial entrepreneur in the client area for 15 years. In 2015, he based Hippeas’ mum or dad firm Green Park Holdings, an innovation enterprise with a mission to create multichannel meals and drinks manufacturers. He is not stunned by Hippeas’ success.
“We really recognized an underserved white space and we went after it,” Bisterzo stated. “All our early stage retailers, and still today, all of our partners, investors, stakeholders still feel there is an opportunity to build a brand that will become a household brand over the next 10-20 years.”
Hippeas can be seeking to develop its philanthropy as the firm scales up, one among the focuses introduced for Bisterzo in his chairman position. The firm — with the mantra “Peas, Love & Giving Back” — has beforehand partnered with Feeding America to donate to meals banks and assist with catastrophe aid throughout the nation.
The firm simply introduced it’s donating as much as $50,000 to Whole Kids Foundation, a nonprofit based by Whole Foods Market that helps grants for college gardens, salad bars and beehives to assist youngsters make wholesome meals decisions. For each Hippeas bag offered at Whole Foods Market areas in the U.S. for three weeks in August and September, Hippeas donated a portion of proceeds to the basis.
The chickpea puff brand is the newest firm to sponsor the Growing Healthy Kids Campaign, which builds consciousness about wholesome consuming habits in youngsters and will increase entry to wholesome meals. Other natural manufacturers, together with Annie’s, Clif, Back to Nature and Bearitos additionally invested in the program.
“One of our major drivers at Hippeas is doing good for yourself and the earth,” Lindsey Valliere, vp of selling at Hippeas, instructed Food Dive. “This year it is our first year to pledge to donate $50,000 by working with them, alongside them, to help teach kids better snacking behaviors.”