One of the world’s largest snacking companies, Mondelēz International, has purchased a minority stake in Uplift Food, a Sydney start-up that sells a powdered daily fibre supplement infused with prebiotics and probiotics.
Mondelez, the publicly-traded multi-billion-dollar conglomerate that sells Oreo, Ritz, Wheat Thins and Tate’s, hopes to use the investment as a way to add functional health benefits to its products. This is the first investment the company is making as part of SnackFutures, its innovation and venture hub aimed at unlocking snacking growth opportunities around the world.
Tim Cofer, Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer of Mondelēz International, said, “As the global snacking leader, we’re on a clear mission to lead the future of snacking by providing the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way. Together with Uplift Food, we have a unique opportunity to disrupt the functional food category by delivering ‘snackable’ products focusing on gut health – something that does not exist today.”
Australian dietitian Kara Landau founded Uplift Food in March 2018 after years of research into prebiotics and how they can be used to manage stress and wellbeing. According to Kara, prebiotics are necessary for probiotics to effectively create an environment in the gut where good bacteria can thrive. Poor diet and stress can hurt gut health and increase inflammation in the body. That’s particularly important because 90 per cent of serotonin is found within the gut. Recent studies have indicated that dietary changes that combat inflammation, like using pre- and probiotics, can help patients with depression find some relief.
“Ultimately, I want people to live their healthiest lives,” Kara said. “Most of the supplements out there in the mood space just gave probiotics and most of the prebiotics are only in digestive products. We want to create a combination of nutrients.”
The partnership will enable Uplift to fund more product development, while they help Mondelez reduce the sugar content and use healthier fats in their products.
Uplift started out as an eCommerce business selling direct to the public – Kara taught herself website building through Google, using the Shopify back-end model, and leveraged her reputation as an established dietitian to promote the Uplift brand. Since launching, however, fellow dietitians are requesting the product on a wholesale basis through their private practices. In-house dietitians at the likes of AFL clubs and Cricket Victoria are showing an interest in the product, and Kara is also working with a national distributor in Australia who getting the Uplift supplements onto the shelves in natural health food and organic stores.