SKU, an accelerator for consumer-packaged goods (CPGs), selected six companies for the upcoming Food & Beverage Accelerator track. The six brands encompass a wide range of food and beverage brands, from the functional beverage brand, Leisure Project to the gourmet cookie brand, Wunderkeks, with each brand founded by family members, including a father and son to sisters. This is the first track in SKU’s history focused exclusively on Food & Beverage brands. The cohort includes Blue Norther, delOrigen, Growth Spurt, Leisure Project, RoRo’s Baking Company and Wunderkeks.

“SKU is on a mission to connect founders to CPG resources so they can create the household brands of tomorrow,” says Emily Kealey, managing director of SKU. “The SKU Food & Beverage 2023 is another example of this mission at work. We are excited to launch this cohort at Expo West 2023 and showcase each brand at our SKU booth. Through our mentors, partners and sponsors, our unique ecosystem gives us the opportunity to accelerate these founders so they can make a lasting change in the CPG industry."

The Food & Beverage cohort kicks off at the 2023 Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim on March 8-11. Presented by the industry’s top experts, founders participate in invaluable classes that include channel strategy, positioning and branding, packaging, labeling and safety, operations, and fundraising throughout the 12-week program.

SKU’s mentors are what truly sets the accelerator apart. Brands are surrounded by a customized mentor team hand-picked to meet their needs. SKU’s mentor community is a who’s who in the CPG industry and includes successful entrepreneurs, investors and top executives from some of the most successful consumer product companies including Coca-Cola, 7-Eleven and Target. They all are united in a shared desire to help founders successfully scale these companies.

The innovative SKU Food & Beverage participants are:

• Blue Norther: Blue Norther was founded by a father-son duo (both named Austin Pittman) on their family ranch. They believed hard seltzer shouldn’t just be light and easy drinking, but it should also be natural and delicious. Brewed in Austin, TX, Blue Norther offers craft Ranch Water and Hard Seltzer made with real fruit, organic agave, and as refreshing as the Cowboy Cold Front that it was named after.”

• delOrigen: Sisters Claudia and Cristina Sanchez Gutierrez de Piñeres craft a delicious, nutritious and innovative twist on their favorite traditional Latin meals and snacks. DelOrigen’s products include frozen cheese sticks and empanadas that are all keto, gluten-free, plant-based, and whole grain, without any additives. DelOrigen has double-digit market share in Colombia’s frozen baked goods category and is expanding into the U.S. market. DelOrigen is a pioneer in the healthy food industry in Colombia, gaining brand recognition nationwide with a large market share of the frozen baked goods category and now is bringing her delicious products to the United States.

• Growth Spurt: Growth Spurt, founded by Kacey Witte, is a full-fat goat milk toddler formula that is modeled after breast breastfeeding and is naturally easier to digest than the other leading dairy and cow milk formulas. The most common allergy in children under age three is to cow’s milk. Growth Spurt adds essential vitamins and minerals to the formulation to meet all of your baby’s needs for growth and development.

• Leisure Project: Leisure Project was founded by two brothers and former D1 collegiate athletes Alex and Steve Michaelsen. They realized the hydration drinks they used their whole lives to fuel physical performance no longer served them, their peers, or the younger generation's needs as a whole. The effects of dehydration were leaving them feeling stressed, anxious, mentally fatigued, and dealing with brain fog on a daily basis - yet no products in the hydration category were made with their mental well-being in mind, so they created Leisure.

• RoRo’s Bakery: RoRo's Baking Company is a family-owned and operated Dallas-based company, specializing in delicious handmade rolls. Amy Collins was inspired by her grandmother, better known as "RoRo", who began baking her rolls many years ago in her kitchen and selling them around the community. People went crazy for her Cinnamon Rolls and Dinner Rolls and Amy wanted to share her baked goods with everyone. RoRo’s products now are available in the frozen sections of grocery stores across the Southeast.

• Wunderkeks: Married couple Luis Gramajo and Hans Schrei, built Wunderkeks out of their belief that the foods we share help tell the story of who we are, and by openly, fearlessly telling these stories, creates the Safe Spaces others may need to tell theirs. They moved from their home country of Guatemala to Austin and their farmer’s market cookie business flourished. Their outlook on life was forever changed. Ever since they made it our mission to share the joy they’ve found. They hope people will share a box of Wunderkeks cookies that will become a symbol of allyship and a marker of a Safe Space.