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  • Center of Excellence in Food and Agriculture
  • Cornell AgriTech
  • Food Science
  • Food
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An ambitious health food startup is making an innovative entry into the nutritious snack market, thanks in part to a multi-year collaboration with the Cornell Food Venture Center (CFVC) and the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture (COE) at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, New York.

Brauus, founded by husband and wife team Rodolfo and Cátia Coelho, launched online sales on its website this summer.  Their first product, a snack called Nutreat, has already seen steady interest among health-conscious consumers.

“The feedback we have received so far is extremely positive, especially from people managing diabetes or controlling blood sugar levels as a way to stay healthy,” Cátia said.

A plant-based, high fiber, sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten-free snack, Nutreat boasts a low glycemic load and can be eaten by the spoonful, spread on toast or even used for a healthy shake with your favorite milk or kefir. It was born from Cátia’s work as a licensed psychologist in community clinics — where she saw patients balancing emotional health challenges with conditions like diabetes and obesity.

The new product finally came to fruition thanks to support from Bruno Xavier, senior extension associate and process authority for Cornell’s Food Venture Center.

“I have spent more hours working with Brauus than on any other project since I arrived at Cornell. So it is gratifying to see the finished product doing well,” Xavier said.

He recounted the chance meeting in 2018 that led to his work with the company. “I was in the Food Venture Center when I heard people talking and recognized that they were speaking with a Brazilian accent.” A Brazilian himself, he said, “Naturally, I wanted to meet them.”

When he learned that the couple were having sample batches of a potential product analyzed, Xavier offered the Coelhos a tour of the CFVC’s Pilot Plant, and encouraged them to explore how the CFVC could help shape their idea into a tangible product.

Cátia said, “Instead of just saying, ‘here are the results,’ they [the CFVC] expressed an interest in our product and invited us to continue our research there.” 

After two years of research, recipe sampling and package testing — which also included extensive work from a graduate class in the Department of Food Science — Brauus was ready to debut its unique, tasty product on the health food market.

“We knew it had to be delicious in addition to healthy,” Rodolfo said. “Focusing on an appealing flavor profile will enable Brauus to fill a gap in the market and will also make it easier for consumers to adhere and commit to healthier eating habits — the driving force behind the decision to launch the company.”

The company name is an amalgamation that honors the couple’s native Brazil, their time in Australia and their new home in the U.S. The Coelhos are currently working with the COE to find a more permanent lab space in the region, so that they can continue expanding their product line with the support of the resources and expertise at Cornell AgriTech.

“The Center connects startups and existing companies with the resources they need in order to thrive, whether it’s mentorship, business-to-business relationships, Cornell research and innovation, or capital,” said Catharine Young, COE executive director. “Rodolfo and Cátia exemplify effective food entrepreneurship because they possess the creativity, drive and determination that are the secrets to success. We are enthusiastic about Brauus’ future.”

More information about Nutreat can be found at https://www.nutreat.com/

Casey Verderosa is a freelance writer for the Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture.

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