Mars, Inc., Chicago, selected the inaugural class for its SEEDS of CHANGE accelerator program, designed to help early stage food-focused companies fast-track growth and build a healthier and more sustainable future.

The final SEEDS of CHANGE accelerator class was carefully selected from over 200 applicants. The panel selected these U.S. participants based on their world flavors, plant-based eating, easy-meal solutions, responsible food and creating with care.

Some of the companies include:

  1. Fora, Brooklyn, N.Y., makes Faba Butter, a non-dairy butter produced from animal-based counterparts.
  2. NoBull Burger, Charlottesville, Va., is a line of hand-crafted, premium veggie burgers that uses only real-food, high-quality ingredients to make plant-based veggie burgers.
  3. Prommus Brands, Chicago, produces a line of value-added hummus while helping provide school meals to children in food-insecure areas of the world.

"The world is changing at a rapid pace with consumer needs evolving and new approaches and technologies transforming business," says Gary Arora, lead of Mars SEEDS of CHANGE accelerator. "The SEEDS of CHANGE accelerator acts as a catalyst to help forward-thinking innovators bring their purpose-driven food-focused visions to life. And, in turn, we will gain valuable insight to further enable the world we want tomorrow."

In addition to a grant of up to $50,000, each startup will undertake a tailored 4-month program to scale operations. The program, led by Arora, global lead of open innovation at Launchpad for Mars, will give the startups access to a panel of industry expert mentors.

"We were impressed by the quality of pitches prepared and presented by each of the 10 finalists, and it made our decision a very difficult one," says Arora. "We selected the final six companies for this first cohort because we thought we were best-suited to meet their specific needs, they are at the forefront of shaping the meals of tomorrow and they have strong alignment to our mission. We are proud of each of the 10 finalists and look forward to seeing their continued success."

The other finalists included Crafty Counter, Austin, Texas, makes easy-to-prepare vegetable-packed foods.