PepsiCo has announced Mexican-inspired snack company, CHUZA as the winner of the eighth class of the Greenhouse Accelerator. This year marks the first-ever Juntos Crecemos (Together We Grow) edition of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator program focused on supporting emerging Hispanic businesses across the food and beverage industry.
The announcement follows a competitive judging process and six-month PepsiCo mentorship program. The San Diego-based business elevates the world of snacks through an assortment of spicy fruit and vegetable offerings, all infused with 100% Mexican spices and no artificial flavors or colors. CHUZA will receive a $100,000 grant and other resources to scale its operations and grow its business.
Founded by CEO Daniel Schwarz, CHUZA was chosen as this year’s winner from ten high-potential finalists by a committee of PepsiCo leaders for successfully expanding distribution to over 500 retail locations and driving velocity growth for the company during the program, showcasing strong collaboration with PepsiCo.
During the six-month accelerator program, the finalists received a $20,000 grant and personalized mentorship from R&D, Supply Chain, Design and other experts at PepsiCo to learn how to solve their direct business challenges, including brand development, go-to-market strategy and more.
“Selecting a winner was no easy task for the panel of judges, because all ten finalists showcased strong advancements in their businesses over this six-month journey in the areas of brand development, product optimization, scaling technology, business model development, go-to-market strategy and more,” said Antonio Escalona, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Foods North America. “CHUZA’s focus and commitment to elevating the snack segment, demonstrated throughout the entire process, inspires us to maintain that same entrepreneurial mindset at PepsiCo as we develop food and beverage solutions that deliver on flavor, function, health, convenience, and sustainability.”
“It is truly an honor to be selected as the winner of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator: Juntos Crecemos Edition from such a talented pool of participants. Over the past six months, my business has experienced substantial expansion and efficiency, all thanks to the invaluable guidance and support provided by the PepsiCo mentors,” said CEO & Founder of CHUZA Daniel Schwarz. “Consumers crave authenticity and diverse snack flavors, so with the $100,000 grant, we plan to expand brand and marketing development to raise awareness of my products and continue sharing our flavors, culture, and flair with the world.”
The selection of the winner comes after an extensive application and review process that was launched in April, and a finalist selection process in July that included a $20,000 grant and invaluable business resources to each of the 10 finalists.
The winner was announced during a special ceremony at PepsiCo headquarters in New York to celebrate the journey of all ten finalists and their business improvements and thank the PepsiCo mentors who lent their business expertise to advance small, Hispanic-owned food and beverage companies.
“In this year’s PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator: Juntos Crecemos Edition, we have witnessed ten exceptionally skilled Hispanic-owned businesses take innovation to the next level with PepsiCo’s mentorship and business resources,” said Esperanza Teasdale, Vice President & General Manager of Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Beverages North America. “We congratulate CHUZA, as well as all of the participants who demonstrated true leadership in advancing the future of the food and beverage industry.”
Since expanding to North America in 2018, the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator has evolved to assist innovators and entrepreneurs in addressing consumer needs. This year marks the eighth class of the program, and its fundamental goal remains the same: to foster the growth of entrepreneurs. Through its partnership with PepsiCo Juntos Crecemos, a multifaceted platform designed to provide critical resources to Hispanic-owned small businesses, the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator expanded its support to a different entrepreneurial segment, while contributing to stronger, more equitable communities.