Arlington, VA (April 14, 2022) — SNAC International’s inaugural SNX 2022, the snack industry’s education and networking forum, announced the winners of the second biennial “SNAC Tank,” a pitch competition for start-up snack brands. The caliber of finalists challenged the audience and the panel of judges with innovative products and solid brand pitches.
Candid, creator of NoonsTM cacao bites snack, took home the $10,000 grand prize with its “better-for-you pedigree for both people and the planet” snack. Candid’s Noons use the whole cacao pod – seed and fruit – making them the first company to use the cacao fruit as a sweetener. Candid works with close to 1,000 farmers in Costa Rica and Peru to use regenerative agroforestry techniques for ingredients and is utilizing compostable packaging to keep Candid’s environmental impact as low as possible.
“SNAC Tank was a fantastic experience! I was able to pitch in front of industry leaders, receive great feedback, and connect with other passionate entrepreneurs doing amazing things in the food and beverage space,” said Candid company founder and CEO Chris Kajander. “Winning SNAC Tank was incredible validation. I started Candid as COVID hit, so I haven’t had much of an opportunity to participate in industry events, trade shows, pitch competitions, etc. It felt amazing to receive positive feedback from such an all-star panel of judges. The ten grand really helps, too!”
Rohan Oza, the founder and managing partner of CAVU Venture Partners, and popular Guest Shark on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” helmed the esteemed judging panel and plied the audience with stories of his successes and failures.
Pulp Pantry, a brand of veggie chips made with upcycled, fresh vegetable juice pulp, took home the Audience Choice Award, which was decided via live vote by the SNAC Tank crowd. CEO and founder Kaitlin Mongentale received an unexpected $5,000 pledge from Mr. Oza, who thought the audience’s favorite pitch also deserved a prize.
“Showcasing some of the most innovative start-ups in our category is an SNX highlight,” said Christine Cochran, President and CEO of SNAC International. “Entrepreneurs like these are what continue to drive the ever-evolving snack industry and what makes this part of SNX so exciting. I want to congratulate both of our winners and look forward to seeing a new collection of innovative ideas for the next SNAC Tank.”
Three other finalists also pitched, including; Eat The Change’s Cosmic Carrot Chews, a kid-friendly carrot snack sweetened with fruit juice; Daily Crunch Snacks, a line of sprouted almonds and trail mixes; and Awakened Foods with their product Ka-Pop! , a sorghum-based vegan and gluten-free snack.
The expert panel of judges included Cindy Kuester, Vice President of Sales for Snak King Corp.; Johnny Tran, Senior Business Development Manager of 301 Inc. the venture capital arm of General Mills; Hector De La Barreda, President of Amplify Snack Brands and EVP of New Ventures for Hershey; Kristy Lewis, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer for Quinn Foods LLC; and the previously mentioned Rohan Oza, Founder and Managing Partner for CAVU Ventures.
About SNAC International
Founded in 1937, SNAC International (formerly Snack Food Association) is the leading international trade association for the snack industry representing over 400 companies worldwide, including suppliers, marketers and manufacturers. Upon its three pillars of education, advocacy, and networking, SNAC is committed to connecting the snack industry to create growth and opportunity. For more information, visit www.snacintl.org.
About SNX – March 27-29, 2022, Phoenix, AZ
Sponsored by SNAC International and held on an every other year rotation with SNAXPO, the SNX Education and Networking Forum offers venues for private business meetings between producers and suppliers. SNX also features an interactive Experience Zone, allowing for informal networking and learning opportunities at each step of the snack production process, as well as an Education Arena where thought leaders will discuss the industry’s most pressing topics. The popular SNAC Tank pitch competition will also be held in the education arena, allowing start-up snack brands to pitch to a live audience for the chance to win a $10,000 prize. For more information, visit www.snxevent.com.