Demo Day

Coffee, Crickets and Cashews: Inside AccelFoods Demoday

That's right, we ate crickets to bring you this report. You're welcome.
AccelFoods was founded by Jordan Gaspar and Lauren Jupiter, whose sisterly relationship was on display for comic relief throughout the evening. (Photo via James Collier)

AccelFoods was founded by Jordan Gaspar and Lauren Jupiter, whose uber-close bond was on display for comic relief throughout the evening. (Photo via James Collier)

When attending a demo day for an accelerator focused on innovative startups in the food industry, be very careful not to just eat anything off of the showroom tables.

You may end up with a mouthful of crickets.

AccelFoods held their inaugural Demo Day last night at New York’s SVA Theater, after six months of honing their products and working with mentors in food tech. The four startups gave their pitches to the wide world, convincing investors and the food community that they’re ready for shelves everywhere.

Here’s a look at the four startups that served up their finest pitches last night:

Whynatte Latte – Yeah, that’s pronounced “Why-not-ay.” Whynatte started out as one guy selling a pre-made coffee drink to bartenders out of the back of his truck. But despite their modest roots and bro-focused (brocused?) lifestyle branding, the coffee startup is suiting up and coming of age. They’ve just closed a new round of funding, restructured the company and changed their recipe over to an “all-natural formula.” They’re trying to pitch the drink to distributers as a stand alone product, sans-liquor, and have attracted attention from edgy celebrity fans like Margaret Cho and Ludacris.

Exo – This startup makes protein bars out of cricket flour. So that you’re not confused, that would be flour made from crickets. To be honest, Exo bars are on par taste-wise with something like a Cliff Bar, and the team makes a strong case for why we should eat insects. They’re high in protein, calcium and iron, and the U.N. estimates that it is 20 times as efficient to raise insects than to raise cattle. But the Exo team doesn’t push the whole cricket thing in the branding — something about not wanting to “scare away customers.”

The startups put up stands in the front hall. This is the point in the evening where we accidentally ate a mouthful of crickets. (Photo via James Collier)

The startups put up stands in the front hall. This is the point in the evening where we accidentally ate a mouthful of crickets. (Photo via James Collier)

Kolat – Kolat essentially makes nut butter on steroids. Each serving is amped up to provide over 50 percent of your daily nutritional needs. Think of it as a more tasty alternative to Soylent. Kolat is already storming the shelves of stores like Whole Foods and Fairway, and is launching soon with FreshDirect. But don’t go Googling “Kolat” any time in the next few weeks — they’re changing their name from Kolat to Kalot, partly to allow for puns like ThinKalot and SnacKalot.

Jaali Bean – Jaali Bean makes healthy, pre-packaged Indian cuisine. It was started by a husband and wife team who’d lived in London for five years, where they noticed that Indian food was thoroughly integrated into the mainstream culture. Jaali Bean is hungry for the opportunity to bring that cultural flavor to the U.S., where the ethnic food market is valued at $11 billion, and is forecasted to grow 15 percent in the next ten years.

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