Food companies are always looking for new ways to make healthy things taste as good as non-healthy things: pasta made of chickpeas, coffee full of vitamins, meat made out of lentils.
That’s exactly what Noemie Delfassy hopes to do with Frecious, the Swiss startup that turns vegetables into creamy whipped spreads. She got the idea for the company when she was an overworked young professional looking for nutritious, freshly-made food that took little-to-no time to make.
“I wanted to make something that got its luscious, creamy texture from veggies and nuts, not animal fat,” she told me over the phone. So she blitzed together fresh produce with sprouted nuts to make an airy spread, and Frecious was born.
In 2014 she started sharing her creation in her home of Geneva, Switzerland and soon had chefs calling her to ask for her tarragon cream or whipped zucchini. “It’s amazing how fast news travels when you have a unique product,” she said.
Delfassy’s first big break was when Poilane, the lauded French bread company, purchased her vegetable creams to spread on their open-faced sandwiches. Soon she was selling to hospitals, schools, cafeterias, and fast-casual establishments throughout Europe.
Now, Delfassy is preparing to launch Frecious in the U.S. “There’s more of an ecosystem for food innovation here,” she said. “Consumers are much more hungry and open to new foods, as opposed to Europe where they’re more traditional.”
Frecious will move both its office and production facilities to the U.S., though Delfassy said they would continue production and sales in Europe. She plans to launch the company by Q1 of 2019 out of Los Angeles, selling Frecious spreads in single-serve packs which can either be used for meal prep or eaten on their own.
Delfassy is currently exploring retail channels for her product, but told me that it could be available everywhere from restaurant wholesale to grocery retailers to grab-and-go spots in coffee shops, gyms, and offices. She didn’t reveal pricing information, but said that each single-serving pack would cost something between a candy bar and a fresh smoothie.
As of now, the Frecious team is just Delfassy, a couple freelancers doing marketing, and a small production crew. The company has raised some funding from European investors, though Delfassy wouldn’t disclose how much.
Frecious participated in the first edition of the European PepsiCo Nutrition Greenhouse accelerator last year. Big Food companies are seeking out smaller startups with trendy products to add to their CPG lineup.
Though Delfassy didn’t indicate that she has any plans to sell Frecious, it seems like it would be a great fit for PepsiCo’s portfolio. The spreads are healthy, snackable, and plant-based, rolling together three growing consumer trends. I could see them being a big hit with time-squeezed millennials, especially ones who are health-conscious and looking to eat more vegetables.
Delfassy’s choice to start in L.A. is also smart. The city is known for its penchant for wellness and its slavish obsession with trends, and Frecious ticks both of those boxes.
Several companies are also trying to create easier, tasty ways for consumers to eat their vegetables. Supermarket shelves offer chips made of sweet potatoes and kale, or pizza with a cauliflower crust. Kencko makes powdered produce that people can mix with water in order to drink their fruits and vegetables.
It’s too soon to tell if Frecious will whip up excitement for their creamy vegan spreads in the U.S. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they were successful in helping people eat their veggies.