Food startups seek boost from Ganeden
July 18, 2016 – by Monica Watrous
CHICAGO — Slated to debut in the coming weeks is Avoke Spoonables, a line of packaged smoothie bowls containing a blend of avocado and fruits and vegetables with probiotics. The New York-based startup behind the products has received a major boost from Ganeden, a manufacturer of probiotic ingredients, which on July 18 declared Avoke the winner of its inaugural Probiotic Innovation Jumpstart program. Avoke has been awarded $25,000 in support to use the patented GanedenBC30 probiotic in the product, plus guidance and expertise in developing and launching the line.
Back in February, Cleveland-based Ganeden launched the competition, inviting scientists, entrepreneurs and inventors to submit ideas for a new product concept featuring probiotics. After receiving a number of entries spanning a variety of applications from baked foods and breakfast foods to baby products and frozen snacks, Ganeden selected three finalists to travel to Chicago and present the product concepts to a panel of industry experts during the Institute of Food Technologists’ Annual Meeting and Food Expo.
“We were open to receiving entries for any new probiotic foods or beverages and received many extremely impressive submissions,” said Andy Lefkowitz, chief executive officer of Ganeden. “It was a difficult choice for the team to choose finalists, but we ultimately selected the three products that we felt would resonate the most with consumers, impress retailers and fill a specific need in the marketplace that may not have been met yet.”
Founded by a pair of mothers and speech pathologists, Avoke Spoonables are dairy-free, vegan and cold-processed in four flavors: Berry Mint, Spicy Carrot, Ginger Greens & Coconut Curry.
“The lid of our unique half-avocado shaped cup contains a toasted quinoa crunchy topping and an eco-friendly spoon,” said Daniel Karsevar, consulting c.e.o. for the company, in an interview with Food Business News. “Avoke will be the first avocado-based food to include probiotics, which makes it stand out. Our customer base is concerned with their health and will benefit from the addition of probiotics.”
The company is finalizing its packaging and plans to launch in New York City this August.
|Daniel Karsevar, consulting c.e.o. for Avoke|
“It means a lot to have industry recognition from experts,” Mr. Karsevar said. “This is a huge help for us, and the recognition is amazing.”
He said the company plans to expand beyond smoothie bowls while continuing to use avocado as the star ingredient.
“Avoke isn’t just about Avoke Spoonables,” he said. “We can roll out spreadables and other things as a bigger brand. We have a lot of ideas.”
Avoke joins more than 500 products brought to market with GanedenBC30 probiotics, which last year in total exceeded $1 billion in retail sales. At I.F.T., Ganeden unveiled dozens of new products featuring the patented probiotic, including protein powders, cold-pressed juices and a frozen dessert.
As the winner of the Probiotic Innovation Jumpstart program, Avoke will meet with representatives from Ganeden to discuss next steps for launching the concept, Mr. Lefkowitz said.
“They will go through the traditional process that all of our partners go through when launching probiotic products, including probiotic formulation, product testing, packaging review, etc.,” he said.
Daniel Karsevar, Founder & Chief Problem Solver at& is also a Mentor at The Brooklyn FoodWorks and Advisor to many CPG brands.
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