By Greg Trotter
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Mompreneur Melanie Kahn markets “Poppilu” as a guilt-free lemonade with less sugar than many competitors. Aronia berries, also known as “black chokeberries,” add an antioxidant boost and a pink hue to the drinks.
Melanie Kahn says she founded Poppilu, a new lemonade brand, after experiencing a powerful craving for citrus while pregnant with her daughter, Poppy.
Poppilu is one of five brands in Kraft Heinz’s new Chicago-based incubator for startups — and the only one owned by a woman.
Kahn isn’t bashful about being a 40-year-old mother of two young children, despite the harsh reality that entrepreneurship often favors those who are young enough to have nothing really to lose.
Kahn is not a newcomer to the packaged food industry. She’s worked stints as a brand manager at Kraft Foods, Sara Lee and Beam before all three companies merged with other firms.
She markets Poppilu as a guilt-free lemonade with less sugar than many competitors. Aronia berries, also known as “black chokeberries,” add an antioxidant boost and a pink hue to the drinks, Kahn said. Poppilu is sold in 550 stores throughout the Midwest, including all 187 Jewel-Osco stores.
Wearing a bright fuchsia shirt as a nod to her products, Kahn explained both the challenges and opportunities for her startup. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Why does it matter to you that you’re the oldest entrepreneur in the Kraft Heinz incubator and also the only woman?