Back in April, AgFunder and agrifoodtech ecosystem catalyst GROW unveiled the third cohort of their annual GROW Impact Accelerator program. Ten startups from around the world were selected for the program, each of them offering cutting-edge technologies that can drive positive transformation across our food and agriculture industries.
Over the next few weeks AFN will be profiling each of the companies that are participating in this year’s GROW Impact Accelerator.
We’re starting out today with Nubocha, a Los Angeles-based startup that’s producing animal-free and farmer-friendly gelato.
In addition to omitting the cow’s milk, Nubocha’s gelato is completely vegan, keto-friendly, and has no added sugar. It’s made from sustainably sourced, whole ingredients.
Read on to hear more from Nubocha co-founders Gianluca Franzoni (GF) and Katrina Smith (KS).
AFN: What problem is Nubocha trying to solve, and how does your technology offer a solution?
GF: Nubocha presents the complete, unhindered potential of nature, specifically cacao and nuts. We allow consumers to experience their sensory notes at their best — aroma, taste, mouthfeel — while delivering a better-for-you dessert in terms of calories and sugar content. We chose gelato as a means to express the ingredients; pure spring water as a neutral base instead of dairy or non-dairy filler; and allulose as a sweetener with zero impact on glycemic index, no aftertaste, and perfect texture.
AFN: What gives your company its competitive edge and differentiates it from others trying to solve the same problem?
KS: We are not using traders for our main ingredients: we have developed first-hand the process for growing and post-harvesting crops. We don’t rely on anyone else to make our nut butters. We roast and grind all our own ingredients. We develop original formulations for our final products. We select the finest nuts and cacao – always premium quality, never average. We use only pure spring water. And we use only allulose as our sweetener. The final product is one that delivers the authentic and pure taste of the main ingredients as no-one else in this market.
AFN: What have been some of the biggest challenges for your company so far? What have been some of the biggest successes?
KS: Of course the major challenge is to compete in a dynamic niche where there are so many vegan, plant-based ice creams. Ours is a unique value proposition, though, in that we have no added sugar and our ingredient list is clean and minimal. Above all, we deliver a supreme experience for the palate.
AFN: What does “impact” mean to you personally and to your organization? Why is environmental and social impact so important?
GF: Everything I’ve done in my life has been to change the status quo for the better. I treat my work like the evolution of the butterfly: it is always trying to create something bigger. This is true for my story of heirloom cacao recovery, and it is also my story for Nubocha. The impact on the community of growers is extremely important. Our farmers are part of the value chain and we impart the importance of quality and preserving natural resources.