Kokada, a Wharton startup that produces healthy, organic coconut spreads, won the “Best Coconut Spread” category in the 2022 Good Housekeeping Healthy Snack Awards.
Co-founded by Wharton MBA students Breanna Atkinson and Jared Golestani in 2020, Kokada is a startup that produces sugar-free, gluten-free, and nut-free coconut spreads that serve as an alternative snack option for those looking for healthy yet sweet snacks. .
Kokada was selected from food startups and national brands, such as Wonderful Pistachios, Patagonia Provisions and Sun-Maid, which required a selection process conducted by a panel of nutritionists, registered dietitians and nearly 2,000 tasters.
Good Housekeeping is a lifestyle magazine publication dating back to 1885 that aims to provide readers with scientific and factual research, reviews and solutions on products for household needs. The Good Housekeeping Healthy Snack Awards are an annual accolade given to brands that have excelled in their respective food type categories from hundreds of entries.
“It seemed unreal when we found out we had won,” Atkinson told the Daily Pennsylvanian. “We didn’t hire a recipe developer to create our recipes, so it’s crazy to be told that our recipe, our product and the brand we created are now featured in one of the biggest magazines in the country. .”
Kokada’s inspiration first came to Atkinson in May 2020 when she was looking for a quick, healthy snack alternative she could eat while juggling her career in management consulting and as a professional athlete. in the Jamaican women’s national volleyball team.
“I was constantly traveling for both counseling and volleyball, so I never really had time to cook or eat beyond snacks,” Atkinson said. “I started looking for fancy sugar-free snacks that were both good and healthy for me. Eventually, that led me to create Kokada.
Atkinson and Golestani began selling Kokada at farmers markets in North Carolina where they lived in October 2020. In January 2021, Kokada began selling their Original Coconut Spread at retail stores in North Carolina. Nord, eventually landing them in Target’s Forward Founders Accelerator program in May of that year.
Launching a food startup during the pandemic presented its own challenges as Atkinson and Golestani grew their business while dealing with supply chain outages, delivery delays and emotional and financial demands. However, their business started to take off after winning the NOSH Pitch Slam competition last December and has currently been featured on top news sites like Good Morning America.
Kokada has three flavors available for purchase on its website and Amazon: Original, Brownie, and Cinnamon Toast, with two new flavors slated to launch in November.
“It’s deliciously addictive,” Wharton MBA student Haakon Brekke told the DP. “With Kokada, you don’t have to sacrifice taste for it to be healthy.”