- Food incubator Sonoma Brands has made its first investment: healthy snacks maker Dang Foods, which recently closed a minority funding round.
- Dang Foods focuses on plant-based ingredients for its snack products and is considered the pioneer of the coconut chip snack segment.
- In January, the company expanded its portfolio with a line of onion chips in flavors like chipotle garlic and Applewood barbecue. The company has positioned the product as a natural, clean label alternative to onion-flavored ring snacks already on the market.
Sonoma Brands is "steering towards categories that nobody wants to really talk about," founder Jon Sebastiani told Food Dive in January. The incubator aims to invest in disruptive companies and create the latest trends rather than ride the ones already established.
Dang's coconut chips have since become more prevalent in Whole Foods, but the market isn't yet saturated with competitors. Onion chips are close enough to salty snack products already on the market that they may not be a tough sell to consumers. Either way, the opportunity for growth and disruption is there.
Venture funds, whether independent like Edible Foods or owned by major manufacturers like General Mills or Campbell, and food incubators are likely employing a similar strategy. They're trying to get ahead of food and beverage trends before they become established and identify the most promising companies to lead that market disruption and create the new trend.