Brands Have So Much Potential, But What Makes Them Investable?

+ Alexandra Dempster & Isabelle Steichen, Lupii


Taste Radio’s hosts pondered the potential of innovative, yet imaginary, concepts; examined why discontinued brands and products – including a line of high-profile energy shots – failed to make it; and riffed upon a bevy of new snacks and drinks. 

This episode also features an interview with Alexandra Dempster and Isabelle Steichen, the co-founders of Lupii, an innovative platform brand that markets lupini bean-based foods.  Launched in 2020, Lupii debuted with a line of plant-based protein bars highlighted by its hero ingredient, which the brand promotes as “a high-fiber legume that has 2x more protein than chickpeas and 3x more protein than eggs.”

In August 2022, Lupii expanded with a three-SKU line of high-protein and high fiber pastas that contain significantly less carbs than those made with traditional ingredients. The brand is represented in hundreds of chain and independent retailers, primarily in the Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Northwest, including Whole Foods, Safeway and Jewel-Osco.

Dempster and Steichen spoke about Lupii’s origins and their alignment as co-founders, how they shifted from “survival mode” amid the early months of the pandemic to a focus on thoughtful growth at retail, how they were able to attract interest and funding from angel investors and their vision and plan to develop a platform brand.

In this Episode

0:37: How To Meet Top Whole Foods Executives, Scotch Spray, The Fiddy/Craven Connection – Less than a week from BevNET’s Meetup at the company’s Newton, MA HQ, the hosts highlighted recently announced speakers for BevNET Live Summer 2023 and wondered if some products conceptualized as April Fool’s jokes should be commercialized. Ray stirred the pot with his bag of discontinued brands, including those of a cap-activated chia beverage, a blue recovery drink and 50 Cent’s energy shot, along with a brain-boosting product with a rather controversial name, before chatting about a highly anticipated collaboration between two massive companies, super-premium chorizo and better-for-you refreshment drinks.
31:51: Interview: Alexandra Dempster & Isabelle Steichen, Co-Founders, Lupii – Taste Radio editor Ray Latif met with Lupii’s co-founders at Expo West 2023, where Steichen spoke about how a diverse population in her native country of Luxembourg exposed her to Lupini beans and their nutritional value as compared to other sources of plant and animal-based protein, why she sought to find a co-founder to launch to the brand and how she and Alexandra formed a bond and common vision for the company. They also discussed how they applied consumer insights from early DTC sales to a brick and mortar retail strategy, identifying Lupii’s core consumer, how they articulate the brand’s “trifecta of benefits,” iterating amid growth, achieving a “sweet spot” within the pasta category and their perspective on venture funding for women-owned and -led brands.

Also Mentioned

Laphroaig, Fly By Jing, Paqui, Sanzo, Ithaca Hummus, Hendrick’s Gin, Moju, Neuro Drinks, 5-hour Energy, Coca-Cola, Jack Daniel’s, Simply, Fanta, Lentiful, Funky Mello, Skippy, Justin’s, Teddie, Tip Top Cocktails, Togronis, Crafthouse Cocktails, Three Sisters Meats, Paro, Update Energy, Phocus, Petal, Bossa Nova, Spindrift, Lemonback, Lupii, Oatly, Banza