Back to Specialty Food News

Jasberry Wins A Fancy New York Pitch Slam

Peetachai “Neil” Dejkraisak of Jasberry, an organic superfood rice maker that transforms lives by solving farmer poverty, won A Fancy New York Pitch Slam at the Summer Fancy Food Show, Monday. The competition was presented by Naturally New York in partnership with the Specialty Food Association.

“Big change starts with a tiny grain of rice,” said CEO and co-founder Dejkraisak, during pitch. “We’re about transforming the health of consumers and farmers’ lives by bringing them out of poverty, and the [health of] the planet through regenerative agriculture. We launched in 2022 and got amazing feedback. We’re in 515 stores in Whole Foods, and won a New Product sofi Award this year. This rice will be the new quinoa.”

Dejkraisak was one of five entrepreneurs who presented a three-minute pitch and answered questions from a panel of judges for four minutes as part of the competition.

Finalists were judged on presentation, storytelling abilities, innovation, social impact, branding, packaging, and market viability.

Heather K. Terry, founder and CEO of GoodSAM Foods, hosted the event. She was joined by a panel of judges including Christina Briscoe, food and beverage category manager, SoHo House & Co., North America; Melissa Dolan, director, Emil Capital Partners; John Lawson, senior local forager, northeast region, Whole Foods Market; and Tapan Shah, head of venture capital, Snack Futures, Mondel?z International.

The other finalists were:

• Harlem Baking Co., a premium dessert company founded by Charles Devigne, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and New York City restaurateur based in East Harlem, who is known for his handcrafted, gluten-free, hormone-free cheesecake and his unique sustainable packaging for delivery.

• Kekoa Foods, a purpose-built, inclusive food company based in New Jersey and co-founded by fathers and partners, Danny Auld, president, and David Fullner, CEO, that focuses on veggie-forward organic purees incorporating herbs, roots, and spices for nutritional value and palate expansion resulting in a bold new take on baby food.

• Loisa, a New York-based, minority-owned food company, co-founded by Scott Hattis, CEO, and Kenneth Luna, that brings a Latin cooking experience with its line of pantry and flavor essentials including non-GMO, organic, vegan, allergen-friendly seasonings and sauces that replace existing mainstay artificial ingredient brands.

• SAYSO, a Brooklyn-based, women-owned, premium cocktail company co-founded by Alison Evans and Chloe Bergson who invented the first-ever craft cocktail tea bags to create mixologist-quality cocktails and mocktails with clean ingredients that are low-sugar, Kosher, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, and plant-based.

Sayso received the People’s Choice award. Audience members voted for the brand via text message.

“It lives with the mixers [on retail shelves] and the great thing about it is it looks different from other mixers in the category,” said Bergson of the tea bag that takes three minutes to steep in either water or alcohol.

Jasberry won a prize package valued at over $130,000 including $10,000 in cash, according to Terry. Sayso won a prize package valued at $22,000 including $1,000 in cash.

Related: SFA Honors Lifetime Achievement Award Winners, Hall of Fame InducteesRetailers Share Momentum-Gaining Trends.