Shane Emmett and two of his college friends started working chia seeds into their daily diets after reading Born to Run, a book about the athleticism of the Tarahumara Native Mexican tribe that details the powers of the superfood.
So when Emmett, who co-founded plant-based snack bar brand Health Warrior with his two friends, began having conversations with PepsiCo about a tie-up, the book became required reading around the snacking and soda giant’s office.
“We pushed it on all of our friends at PepsiCo,” says Emmett. Chia seeds are “the paradigm of a nutrient-dense whole food.”
The extra reading paid off. PepsiCo announced today that it has acquired Health Warrior, continuing the soda and snacking giant’s push into more nutritious fare as it responds to consumers’ shifting tastes. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Health Warrior will continue to operate out of its headquarters in Richmond, VA.
The deal is the first investment under PepsiCo’s “The Hive,” an entity within PepsiCo that it created earlier this year to grow smaller brands focused on emerging trends.
Health Warrior, which launched in 2011, makes products out of chia, pumpkin seeds, and other superfoods—ingredients that PepsiCo North America Nutrition president Seth Kaufman says are “critical as consumers get much more discerning about what they’re putting in their bodies.”
PepsiCo has a sizable snack bar portfolio under its Quaker brand and sub-brands, but it does not have a big presence in protein and nutrition bars—a space PepsiCo has been “watching for a long time,” says Kaufman. PepsiCo also sees the potential to use “seeds as a platform,” he adds, which could go beyond the bar category.