Last week food and beverage accelerator and investor AccelFoods announced the addition of six brands to its portfolio, including calamansi juice brand Mansi. Calamansi is a high-intensity citrus fruit that is used extensively in the Philippines, and Mansi’s single SKU blend is the company’s version of a “Filipino lemonade.” Sweetened with organic cane sugar and organic honey, Mansi promotes the drink as “the new citrus experience.”
In an email to BevNET, AccelFoods co-founder and managing partner Jordan Gaspar said that the recent partnership with Mansi, along with five food brands, including Brami and NewPop, reflects the accelerator firm’s positioning as investor in “delicious, high-quality products and partners with entrepreneurs who are resourceful, resilient, and relentless.”
“Members of our team were already buying Mansi in New York when a fund that we are close to introduced us to the founder, Charles Medenilla,” Gaspar said. “We were struck instantly by his passion and drive. Building the world’s first premium calamansi beverage and supply chain will be an impressive undertaking but will give the company a competitive edge as it scales. Medenilla has both the tenacity and personal relationships with the local farmers to accomplish this feat.”
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, however, Medenilla told BevNET that Mansi’s partnership with AccelFoods took just a few months to formalize, noting that “both parties shared the same vision so it went fairly smooth.”
“What attracted me the most about Accel was that they were not only genuine fans of the product, but buying Mansi even before we met,” he said. “This spoke volumes to me as I knew they truly believed in the product.”
Packaged in 11.2 oz. Tetra Pak cartons, Mansi retails for $2.59. The beverage is distributed by UNFI and KeHe and sold in several independent grocery chains in the tri-state area, including Fairway, Key Food, Gourmet Garage and Best Market. Mansi is also available on Amazon.com and will be carried by online food delivery service Fresh Direct in the coming weeks. Medenilla said that he’s currently speaking with other potential retailers that “understand the brand but more importantly value a unique citrus beverage.”
AccelFoods’ investment will be primarily used to support further education and awareness initiatives for Mansi, Medenilla said. The funding will also be used for innovation efforts in packaging and formulation; Medenilla views “endless opportunities” for calamansi and strong potential for the fruit to be used by U.S. consumers as an alternative to lemons and limes.
The additions to AccelFoods’ portfolio come eight months after the firm closed on a new $20 million fund. AccelFoods has partnered with 26 companies in total, including five beverage brands: Mansi, Iconic, a maker of protein drinks, cold brew coffee brand Wandering Bear, premium coffee marketer Whynatte, and Four Sigmatic, a brand of medicinal mushrooms drinks.