Burt’s Bees Natural Launchpad grants baobab powder brand Kaibae cash, mentorship
Later this month, Kaibae co-founders Dr Luc Maes and Barbara Maes will be heading to Burt’s Bees’ world headquarters in North Carolina for the coaching session.
They will be joined by the founders and executives of 10 other up-and-coming brands selected into the second cohort, coming from categories as diverse as children’s food to tableware to nasal rinses.
“Being able to be at the headquarters and really have the time and the attention of the executives is an amazing opportunity, and that’s rare, especially for small companies like us,” Barbara Maes told NutraIngredients-USA.
An annual grant for up-and-coming thinkers
According to the Burt’s Bees Natural Launchpad page, criteria for entry was an annual US revenue in the $200K-$2M range, with the submitted product being a healthy lifestyle product that is inspired by nature and driven by high standards for social and environmental responsibility.
In other words, the Natural Launchpad program, which launched in 2016, is “an annual grant program for the up-and-coming thinkers, the dreamers, the midnight-oil-burning innovators. For creators energized by an opportunity to improve the health and well-being of our planet and everyone on it.”
Which is why the Maes’ felt that this award suited them very well. “The fact that we work directly with harvesting communities and connect them to the marketplace makes our work even more important and Burt's Bees recognizes this deeper level of commitment,” said Dr Luc Maes.
“Kaibae was inspired by the Baobab Tree which provides amazing baobab ingredients (fruit powder, tea & oil) for health & beauty,” he added. As a brand, Kaibae markets baobab for its antioxidant properties that may contribute to healthier energy, skin, immune health, and more recently, as a prebiotic.
“We believe that Burt’s Bees likes our unique business model of creating supply chains for undervalued natural resources considered ‘Lost Crops’ such as Baobab from the savannah, cacay from the Amazon and seaweed from the ocean, supplying our ingredients to small and large CPG’s, and creating our own retail wellness line.”
Stardust from Burt's Bees
Baobab was approved as a US food ingredient as recent as 2009. Despite this, there was no peak in popularity for the ingredient around this time, dwarfed by the internet-search popularity of turmeric and acai, two other botanical ingredients exotic to the North American market.
In the past, baobab powder had been marketed more for its nutrient-dense, low-glycemic qualilties. At the beginning of 2017, Kaibae started to emphasize the prebiotic benefits of baobab in its marketing—a term and health claim which is gaining traction in the health food space.
Now with some stardust from global brand Burt’s Bees, the two co-founders believe the award is a chance to get their story out and recognized. “For Kaibae the effect of winning this award will increase visibility and provide growth for the Kaibae brand,” Dr Luc Maes said.
“It further validates our mission to introduce new potent ingredients to the marketplace and develop quality health & beauty products with a strong social and environmental impact.”