Confetti: ‘Ugly’ vegetables turn into crunchy snacks
Singapore-based Confetti uses upcycled vegetables and turns them into nutrient-dense, colourful and crunchy snacks. Founder and chief executive Betty Lu speaks to NutritionInvestor ahead of the October launch in the US and the UK
Confetti Fine Foods is a Singaporean company and the maker of Confetti snacks, the brainchild of Betty Lu, a marketing and branding professional from the island city-state. She founded the business in June 2018 after a four-year trip that saw her visiting 40-plus countries. While in Canada, she was not only looking for the next mountain to climb but also the ideal tasty and nutrient-rich snack to take along the journey. She couldn’t find one, so decided to make her own.
“Experiencing so much beauty in the course of travels made me want to contribute to the world in a more meaningful way,” she says. “Here at Confetti, we make eating vegetables a fun indulgence by crafting nutrient-dense produce into award-winning gourmet chips that are much better for you.”
Formerly branded as Trishaw Treats, Confetti’s snacks were created to embrace Singapore’s culinary heritage, in a bright and colourful way. Lu explains: “We name ourselves Confetti as we want global consumers to indulge in their plant-based colours, celebrate diversity in plants, and to truly experience the rich culinary heritage of world flavours using snacks as a medium of travel.”
Crack open a bag of Confetti and you’ll see what she means. Confetti’s snacks are colourful and crunchy. Products are made from vegetables like radishes, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, okra and purple beets, packing a punch with exotic flavours.
“Our crunchy vegetable snacks come in adventurous gourmet flavours like tandoori curry, summer truffle, teriyaki barbecue, and green curry,” she says.
Confetti’s products are vegan and free from gluten, nuts, and dairy, and contain no flavour enhancers like monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Products are sold online through the company website and on Fairprice, Singapore’s biggest supermarket chain. Other stockists include Scoop Wholefoods, The Green Collective, Tea Pasar, and Changi Airport, to name a few.
Lu says everything is in place for Confetti’s September launch in Singapore, and a month later in the US and the UK.
A business with a purpose
Confetti is combating food waste by upcycling ‘ugly’ vegetables and fruits that don’t make it to supermarket shelves.
Lu speaks with passion when it comes to the company’s sustainability efforts. She says that 40% of the world’s produce is dumped every year due to aesthetic reasons or supply-related issues, which contribute a significant percentage to greenhouse emissions.
“At Confetti, we maximise ugly vegetables that are nutrient-dense but are rejected by supermarkets and retailers because they are wonky and far from the perfect dimension or form that most retailers demand.
“We believe in upcycling these nutritious vegetables and allow global consumers to open their eyes to a world of colour and experience crunchy vegetables as a snack, that is superior beyond a generic nutritionally bankrupt potato chip or extruded corn puff.”
Lu also notes that Confetti is aligned with seven of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and that the company is a partner of the network 1% for a Better Planet, the global movement inspiring businesses and individuals to support environmental solutions through memberships and everyday actions.
Confetti has also teamed up with several social and environmental enterprises in Singapore, including Business for Good by raiSE and the Centre for a Responsible Future, and the company donates also to Singapore’s Migrant Workers’ Centre.
“We are committed to using business as a force of good, to alleviate environmental issues facing the world and take proactive steps to end global hunger,” says Lu.
Confetti Fine Foods: Sales on the up
It seems that Confetti has struck the right note in terms of taste and marketing, and the initial uptake and traction the brand has with speciality food stores is a testament to Lu’s business direction.
She has secured shelf space with independent grocers and online retailers in Singapore and says that corporate events and five-star hotels were also clients during Confetti’s soft launch last year.
“Having the supply chain and production ironed out and sorted, we are now getting ready to scale up,” says Lu. “We’re now focused on meeting the growing global demand in the plant-based better-for-you snack category.”
Lu says Confetti big-box retailers, supermarkets and convenience stores in New York and London are keen on stocking Confetti, and that products are due to hit shelves there in a few months’ time.
“We’re seeing high demand, especially in the US and UK where we are due to launch in October,” reveals Lu. “We are projecting $6.7 million in revenues for the 2021 fiscal year, and two million bags sold across Singapore, the US and UK.”
Confetti Fine Foods is an award-winning brand – it took home the Tasty Singapore Ambassador Award 2020. The brand is supported by Innovate 360, Food Ventures, and Enterprise Singapore. Since last year, Confetti is a portfolio brand of Big Idea Ventures.
The Singapore office of the New York-based investor and business accelerator took Confetti into the fold in September, following an oversubscribed seed capital round.
“Big Idea Ventures has been instrumental in our development and been supportive from the very start,” says Lu. “We couldn’t ask for a better anchor investor who truly understands our mission and what it takes to build a global brand that resonates with world consumers.”
Lu describes the Big Idea Ventures team as brilliant, talented and passionate about supporting entrepreneurs and ideas to solve the world’s greatest challenges. “Their energy, fresh ideas, and tenacity is a great inspiration for me and my team in pushing us to leave a positive dent in this world.”
With an international team based in Singapore, the US and the UK, Confetti Fine Foods is at full steam ahead. The company is sourcing and developing new flavours from plants to expand the range.
“We are also collaborating with an Australian company on an exciting gourmet line of vegan jerky made from the stems of shiitake mushrooms that are normally discarded, and repurpose them into the tastiest vegan jerky, seasoned with exotic flavours,” explains Lu. The aim, she says, is to make a product that tastes better than the meat alternative and comes without the saturated fat and cholesterol.
It’s only a matter of time before those of us in Europe and the US can crack open a bag of Confetti. In the meantime, the company is raising capital in a Series A funding round expected to close in the coming months.