Yasso’s incubator launches its first brand, Jüve Pops

Source: fooddive.com

Dive Brief:

  • Yasso, Inc., known for its frozen Greek yogurt desserts, has launched the first product from its Yasso Incubator. Jüve Pops are water-based and made with real fruit, vitamins and electrolytes, according to a press release. The freezer pops have 10 grams of sugar and 45 calories per serving. 
  • Jüve Pops are available in frozen and freezable ambient forms, with eight varieties — Tangerine, Triple Berry, Strawberry, Lemon Lime, and Coconut frozen bars, and Orange, Grape, and Triple Berry in freezable formats. They are sold online and at grocery chains including Harris Teeter and Wegmans.
  • Yasso co-founders Drew Harrington and Amanda Klane are also the creators of Jüve Pops. The execs, along with Yasso CEO Craig Shiesley, created the incubator to explore subcategories in frozen desserts and other segments, with a focus on products that prioritize taste, quality ingredients and nutrition.

Dive Insight:

Yasso, which makes better-for-you frozen yogurt, bars, sandwiches and other novelties, expects to reach $150 million in revenue this year. Founded in 2009, the company claims to have the fastest-growing brand in the frozen dessert segment. While it has already made a name for itself with frozen yogurt-based treats, it clearly sees the opportunity in bringing its better-for-you ethos to other offerings. 

Co-founders Harrington and Klane viewed the frozen pop space as relatively unchanged since the 1960s and founded Jüve Pops to modernize the segment. These updated frozen pops seek to differentiate with a focus on functional ingredients. For example, its strawberry variety has twice the potassium and a wider range of vitamins  — including C, B3, B5, B6 and E — compared to the leading fruit bar, the company claims. This functional focus is on trend, with COVID-19 spurring interest in foods that offer additional health and wellness benefits. 

Jüve Pops will face some competition as other brands look to claim the health-conscious frozen dessert space. Halo Top has proven to be one of Yasso’s biggest competitors here. Its product line includes nondairy vegan varieties, keto-friendly options and light ice cream bars. In March 2021, it launched frozen fruit pops that contain real fruit and fruit juice, and have 35 calories and 5 grams of sugar per serving.  

Yasso’s decision to launch Jüve Pops through an incubator is an interesting choice for a smaller CPG. Incubators have emerged as a popular option for large, multinational companies looking to launch new brands that may deviate from their traditional offerings. Kraft HeinzPepsiCo and General Mills have launched incubators to stay ahead of shifting consumer trends. The startup benefits from the resources and expertise that the Big Food company has to offer while the food giant enjoys a dose of innovation and fresh perspective. Incubating a startup can be a faster approach to ramping up innovation in lieu of relying on in-house R&D efforts.

Incubators can also offer a way for companies to hone in on developing specific opportunities. In 2019, plant-based meal kit maker Purple Carrot debuted The Garden Incubator, dedicated to fostering plant-based concepts. With a captive target consumer audience and a narrow focus on plant-based foods, Purple Carrot can use its meal kits as a way to experiment with its incubator startup’s offerings and tweak the formulas as needed. Chobani has honed the focus of its incubator on improving diversity and inclusion in the food industry. 

For Yasso, an incubator approach can offer it a chance to leverage its better-for-you experience on new food segments — and fast-track its own growth prospects. The company aims to double the size of its business within the next 3 years, not including the launch of Jüve Pops. Should its approach work in other frozen dessert segments, taking the incubator path may prove to be a shortcut to success.