Vol. 127 - NO. 39

Blog Startup CPG

SINCE 2019

Startup CPG Microgrants
applications open!

Applications are open for Startup CPG Microgrants!
Check your inbox for the form or sign up for our newsletter to receive it.


The Deets

Startup CPG Microgrants pays emerging brands in our community for their nutritious food products, which is then donated to organizations in need.
Our most recent initiative was aimed at addressing the unprecedented public health crisis of COVID-19. The events have put a strain on our food system and affected communities all over the world. Our most vulnerable populations have been disproportionately affected, experiencing increased food insecurity.

Who It Helps

Emerging Brands: 
If you’re a young brand working toward a better food system, we want to help you give back to the community while also providing revenue & helping you gain momentum.

Communities in need: 
Food insecurity has been exacerbated as a result of COVID-19. Finding organizations that can take direct food donations can be tricky, we are grateful to be connected with numerous foodbanks who are part of the venerable Feeding America network.


Growing Our Giving

Startup CPG & its sponsor partners allocate a significant portion of proceeds toward Microgrants. We’re here to support emerging brands, and we know one of the best ways to do that is through top line revenue. The brands we support through this program often match our donations so we can maximize the amount of food we are able to donate to foodbanks, where food demand outmatches supply, nourishing people around the country.

“This absolutely made our week…I would say that this is such a worthy program that connects small food makers with the community, and it’s a beautiful win/win.” – Abigail Wald, Co-Founder, The Yes Bar

“Your donation total came in at 61 pounds …Incredible! Support through food drives helps us to continue to devote our financial resources to securing additional nutritious food, especially produce.” – Marilyn Villalba, Volunteer Coordinator at Feeding San Diego

The Yes Bar Co-Founder Jeremy Cohen
Rickaroons teammate dropping of donation at Feeding San Diego

COVID Microgrant highlights

Our Spotlight Brands
We were thrilled to feature snacks from Green Mustache, UNiTE Food, The Yes Bar, Rickaroons, and Kakookies.

The founders of all five brands we chose for our microgrant program were directly involved in the organizing and logistics in connecting with our food distribution partners.  Many of the co-founders took the time to pack some of the boxes themselves, and even got their families involved!

Green Mustache

Whimsical vegan and gluten-free ‘cheese’ crackers packed with nutrients from chickpeas, kale, and chia! VanTrang Manges, the Founder of Green Mustache, is a mom who was inspired to create convenient and tasty ways to nourish her kids with particular eating habits. Millions of moms look for creative ways to feed their kids healthy snacks when they have strong aversions to greens, and Green Mustache has created super snacks that are approachable for all.

“As a mom of two, I’m really excited that we’ll be able to provide snacks for children through the Hope Pack program. ” -VanTrang, Founder, Green Mustache


UNiTE Food 

Globally inspired protein bars made with wholesome, gluten-free ingredients and superfoods in flavors loved by kids and adults alike – like Mexican Hot Chocolate, Churro, and PB&J. The founder, Clara Paye, is a serial entrepreneur, active member of the Startup CPG community and also a mom. UNiTE Food is shaking up the protein bar aisle with globally inspired flavors and a mission to make wellness accessible to everyone. We also had the pleasure of hosting Clara on the Startup CPG Podcast.

“Thanks Startup CPG for helping us UNiTE” – Clara Paye, Founder, UNiTE Food


Cookies re-imagined to have the nutrition of an energy bar with the taste and texture of a delicious homemade cookie. Kakookies are certified gluten free, vegan, and free of artificial sweeteners, flavors and preservatives.
Kakookies were created by Sue Kakuk, a 2-time Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist.
Inspired by her daughter, a collegiate cyclist, Sue wanted to create an on-the-go snack that would be a healthier alternative to the usual Dunkin Donuts pre-race pit stop that was just as tasty.

The Yes Bar

Fully plant-based, paleo & vegan, and free of GMO’s, gluten, and many top allergens, Yes Bars were created by Abigail Wald to address the many food sensitivities her sone was born with. Always having to say ‘no’ to her son’s food cravings inspired her to create a snack with ingredients she could finally say yes to.



A nutrient dense snack created to fuel an active lifestyle full of baseball practices, triathlons and body surfing. Packed with chia seeds, coconut, and nuts, Rickaroons choose ingredients to align with health, taste, and nutrition.

“Thank you for the opportunity and the choice to support the food bank in our own backyard. ” – Grant LeBeau, Co-Founder, Rickaroons


Our Food Distribution Partners

The organizations we worked with rely on sustained support beyond our microgrant. Below are links to donate, if you wish to support the work they are doing:

Hope Packs, Midwest Food Bank https://www.midwestfoodbank.org/hopepacks

Hope Packs ensure that children have access to food throughout the weekend. The Midwest Foodbank estimates that over 11 million children come from “food insecure” homes in the United States. Now as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, they estimate that 1 in 4 children face hunger in the United States, puting them at risk for academic setbacks, and adverse physical and mental health. $50 assures a full school year of weekend hope packs for one child
Hope packs always include five staple items, including cookies, snacks, and nutrition bars. They rely on donations of kid-friendly shelf-stable items. We were delighted to send over some really fun protein bars and snacks, all founded by moms looking to create more nutritious snacks for their kids.


Food Bank of Monterey County https://foodbankformontereycounty.org/donate/

The Food Bank of Monterey County provides food for over 100,000 neighbors within Monterey County. The food bank also offers programming in education and advocacy, provides produce to over 5,000 seniors each month, and addresses youth hunger in the community through the Kids N.O.W. (Nutrition On the Weekends) Program. The Kids N.O.W. Program currently provides over 2000 children each week with a reliable source of nutritious food, in neighborhoods where 90% of the children live in poverty.
Monterey County uses funds to purchase fresh produce for food insecure neighbors in the community.


Yolo Food Bank

Donate Covid-19 Relief Fund

Yolo Food Bank has set up a relief fund specifically for the COVID-19 crisis to assist with front line disaster relief. For over 50 years, Yolo Food Bank has been fighting food insecurity in Yolo County. They serve 45,000 people monthly and distribute over six million pounds of food each year. The demand for food assistance since the onset of the pandemic has risen by more than 60%.


Feeding San Diego

Donate Funds

We were excited to foster a local partnership between Rickaroons, based in San Diego, and Feeding San Diego. They estimate that 1 in 6 San Diego residents are experiencing hunger due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and have set up additional emergency food distribution sites to address this need. Feeding San Diego has a mission to connect every person facing hunger with nutritious meals by maximizing food rescue. Established in 2007, Feeding San Diego serves over 63,000 individuals each week, including seniors, children, and families.

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