Meet the Winners of FreshDirect’s 1st Entrepreneur Program

Online grocer chooses 6 fledgling companies for mentorship, partnership and brand exposure
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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TerraNut snacks
One program winner, TerraNut, offers snacks made with clean ingredients for health and wellness.

Online grocer FreshDirect announced the first class of local food brands who will take part in its new Rising Industry Partners and Entrepreneurs (R.I.P.E.) program. They will participate in a yearlong pilot program to take their respective products and brands to the next level.

FreshDirect’s team selected the following startups for the incubator-style initiative:

Doughnuttery: Launched in 2012 by two New York-based brothers, the brand offers hot, fresh, uniquely sugared mini doughnuts sold at New York institutions like the Chelsea Market and Empire State Building. These exclusive doughnut and sugar combinations are available in varieties like Rosemary Road, Green Tea Buzz and Flower Power, among others.

[Read more: "EXCLUSIVE: FreshDirect Versus Food Waste"]

Mai Vino: A female-founded company, Mai Vino works directly with winemakers and growers from around the world to produce organically grown single-origin wines, packaged in airtight pouches that keep the wine fresh for 30 days after opening and reduces the carbon footprint by 80%.  

Matriark Foods: An environmental-impact food company, Matriark Foods was founded in 2020 to tackle the $1 trillion food waste problem by producing certified upcycled products for retail, foodservice and emergency food markets. In 2022, the company launched the world’s first carbon-neutral, upcycled-certified tomato sauces.  

Pure Mitti: Pure Mitti is a minority- and woman-owned BIPOC brand offering a selection of functional products that embrace the principles of ancient Ayurveda focusing on a natural approach to daily living. The natural, toxin-free line includes daily living products in skin, hair, home cleaning and lifestyle.

Spoonful: Following the philosophy that proper nourishment goes beyond mere sustenance, Spoonful crafts overnight oats that integrate health and taste. The company uses thoughtfully sourced ingredients to cater to various dietary preferences and requirements. 

TerraNut: Dedicated to producing healthy and delicious snacks, TerraNut was founded in 2012 and produces fully raw, cold-pressed, and plant-based snacks.

Through the new program, FreshDirect will provide expertise and resources to help brands grow their business. Among other things, the selected companies will gain insights on how to adapt their strategies for e-commerce success, connect with a FreshDirect category manager for one-on-one mentorship and expand their customer base within the New York City and tristate area.

The R.I.P.E. initiative is part of FreshDirect’s longstanding practice of partnering with local suppliers. The company is also working to diversify the supply chain, and will help the young brands foster relationships with its distribution partners, community organizations and other entrepreneurs. 

“We have a deep tradition of supporting our local food vendors and this new initiative enables us to discover new partners who are elevating and evolving the food and culinary landscape with their products and brands," remarked Dave Bass, managing director at FreshDirect. 

More than 90 brands applied to the program when it was announced earlier this year. During the onboarding process for the finalists, FreshDirect hosted two virtual learning sessions on new item setup and marketing and public relations. 

All brands will be live and available for purchase on the FreshDirect site.

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