SONOMA, CALIF. — Rivalz, a snack startup founded by a group of consumer packaged goods industry experts, has closed a round of angel funding and is set to debut a line of savory filled bites this spring.
Described as “multi-textured, multi-flavored” stuffed snacks, the brand’s products are formulated with yellow pea protein and are free from artificial flavors and preservatives. The snacks also are vegan and gluten-free, with 8 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, no added sugar and 7 essential vitamins and minerals per serving. Offerings include Late Night Pizza, Extra Chedda’ Mac and Spicy Street Taco, inspired by nostalgic flavor profiles, according to the company.
“We’re excited to give the savory snack category a little healthy competition with a completely differentiated, dual-textured, snack that tastes better and does better for consumers,” said Peter Barrick, chief executive officer, who previously led operations for Sonoma Brands. “Consumers today are forced to settle for snacks that they know aren’t good for them or ‘healthier’ snacks that just don’t taste as good and, really, are only reducing some of the bad. Rivalz will change the snacking game with a vegetable-based snack that rivals any potato chip on flavor and challenges the way the snacking category will think about nutrition.”
The product is positioned as a healthier take on Combos, a brand of stuffed snacks owned by Mars, Inc., McLean, Va. Developed in the late 1970s, per Mars, Combos traditionally features a cracker or pretzel shell and soft, cheese-flavored filling. The brand had $184.6 million in sales in US multi-outlet retailers, including grocery, drug, mass market, convenience, military and select club and dollar stores, in the 52 weeks ended Jan. 1, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.
The March Group, a Davis, Calif.- and Hong Kong-based venture capital fund, participated in the round, along with private investors. The capital will be used to expand the team, support retail and direct-to-consumer channel growth and digital marketing efforts, and invest in technology to enhance innovation, optimize production and improve scalability.Rivalz products will be available to purchase online at rivalzsnacks.com and in select retail channels.