Gnarly Pepper is mentioned in Les Affaires, a French language bi-monthly newspaper, available on newsstands throughout Quebec!


INNOVATION. They are called Sleep Well, Proxifrigo, Sated and Gnarley Pepper. They come from Jersey Island, St. Boniface from Shawinigan, Boston, and Iowa. The common point of these young shoots? On September 3rd, they were all selected to form the second cohort of Agropur’s Inno Accel program, which claims to be the first North American accelerator specializing in dairy products.

Thus, Sleep Well makes a dairy beverage to promote sleep, Proxifrigo reinvents the concept of milk distribution, Sated produces a slurry adapted to the ketogenic diet and Gnarly Pepper mixes custom spices to mix with Greek yogurt.

One week per month until November 21st, the four start-ups will join the Agropur head office in Saint-Hubert to benefit from a mentoring and assistance program worth $ 25,000. In addition, there is a $ 15,000 endowment to support their development.

“The world we live in is changing very rapidly,” says Robert Coallier, CEO of Agropur. Consumers are no longer looking for products, but experiences. So we built an ecosystem to open up a window on the outside to see what’s going on elsewhere and potentially to jointly develop new fast-track projects. “

A culture of innovation
Inno Accel is just one facet of this innovation ecosystem, called Inno Agropur. It includes Inno Challenge – an open innovation challenge launched in 2016 – Inno Fabrik – an internal idea generation process and annual ideation sessions – and Inno Capital, a co-investment platform with $ 40 million, half of which is funded by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

“We wanted to create a culture of innovation, both externally and internally, so that both are stronger,” says Coallier. Because when we talk about open innovation, it must not be just open to the world … But also to us internally! “

Mochis, a Japanese dessert made up of a scoop of ice cream wrapped in a rice paste, is an example of the impact of this strategy on Agropur’s innovation skills. “A huge success that would not have been possible if we had not introduced this culture,” he enthuses. We created the product from scratch internally, but our teams were able to take a different approach, influenced by product developments that we were able to see externally. “

The chief executive of the Quebec Farmers’ Cooperative, however, prefers not to specify the budget devoted to Inno Agropur, simply talking about “large sums”.

Montreal start-up U Main, which sells home-made cheese-making kits at home, was part of the first Inno Accel cohort in 2018. It gives a fairly positive assessment of the experience. “We were there mainly to learn, to seek expertise on dairy products and entrepreneurship, and to build a sustainable strategic development plan,” says its co-founder, Pascale Richard. It has met our expectations and has also helped us improve our revenue. “

Since joining Inno Accel, other companies have been interested in U Main, says Richard. Growing youth also remains in contact with Agropur, even if the contours of this “marketing link” remain confidential. “We are working on some projects with start-ups, but it is still too early to talk about it,” confirms Robert Coallier. To be continued.

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