Hershey Center for Applied Research Announces New Tenant: Better Bowls
For Immediate Release
Local food industry veteran chooses HCAR as home for development of new line of convenient and heart healthy food products
HERSHEY, PA – May 04, 2009 – The Hershey Center for Applied Research (HCAR) announced today that Better Bowls is now a tenant of its Technology Suites. Launched by food innovation expert Malathy Nair, PhD, Better Bowls is a company focused on introducing great-tasting food products that use natural ingredients, healthier formulations and convenient packaging to help consumers prevent or manage health issues including obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Dr. Nair started developing the initial line of Better Bowls products after her mother suffered a major heart attack that resulted in a drastic change in her diet. Dr. Nair found that products that her mother's doctor recommended, such as pudding, for easy digestibility, greatly exceeded desired sodium content for a heart-healthy diet. Combining her passion for developing innovative food products and her knowledge of food ingredients and technology, she started Better Bowls with the initial focus on convenient instant pudding and gelatin snack options.
Better Bowls resides in one of HCAR's five Technology Suites which are flexible wet lab modules that are being supported by the LSGPA. In 2007 the LSGPA awarded HCAR a $700,000 grant to subsidize lease space in the HCAR Technology Suites for several start-up companies such as Better Bowls as well as to provide business support services to early-stage life sciences companies.
"It's incredibly valuable to be close to a major research center and medical institution such as the Penn State Hershey Medical Center," said Dr. Nair. "Having discovered HCAR, we're more confident than ever about our decision to remain in Central PA which has a long history of supporting the growth of many successful food companies."
Better Bowls competes in the functional foods category which represents a $60B market which is expected to reach $219B by 2012. Currently, half of all shoppers have someone at home suffering from or at risk of High Blood Pressure (48%), High Cholesterol (43%) or Diabetes (29%). Moreover, 50-60% of consumers use food as a way to prevent these diseases.
Dr. Nair spent the past six years at Hershey Foods developing healthier versions of snack products. Prior to Hershey's, Dr. Nair spent eight years working at General Mills on cereal and yogurt products and was the lead product developer for the team that launched the highly successful Yoplait Whips product line. She is the author of several patents and has a multi-disciplinary life sciences education background with degrees in microbiology, biophysics and food science.
"Dr. Nair has set an example of how entrepreneurial companies can flourish and create jobs in Central PA by building both a solid management team of food industry veterans and by leveraging the expertise of many of the regional business and research organizations," said Laura Butcher, Executive Director of HCAR. "From academia, to business mentors and even HCAR's own infrastructure, Better Bowls has developed a winning business model."
The company's first products will be a line of great tasting dry mix gelatin and pudding snacks packaged in single serving cups sold for about a dollar and will be stocked next to traditional dry mix pudding and gelatin products. The cup conveniently acts as a mixing bowl, measuring cup and serving unit and allows consumers to customize their snack with whipped cream, fruit, granola and/or other healthy ingredients.
Unlike other pudding and gelatin snacks on the market, these snacks are a good or excellent source of fiber, protein and other vitamins and minerals as well as being low in, salt, fat and cholesterol and come in regular and sugar free options. Better Bowls is focused on transforming a category traditionally viewed as a dessert into a healthy snacking choice that is healthy, satisfying and inexpensive.
Better Bowls' new address will be:
About the Hershey Center for Applied Research
About Better Bowls