General Mills Investing in Vegan Startups!
Food giant General Mills have recently announced a shift in strategy: to invest in innovative food-centered startups, which include meat-free alternatives!
The company, which owns Cheerios and Pillsbury, created its venture capital unit 301 Inc. just three years ago with the intention of developing brands from scratch. However, 301 Inc. will instead be used to support innovative companies that invest in the future of food.
One of the businesses that are being in invested in is Beyond Meat, a company specializing in offering plant-based protein products. John Haugen, vice president and general manager of 301 Inc., spoke about the decision to invest in the company:
“About two years ago we invested in Beyond Meat, a start-up company on a mission to develop plant-based protein that has the taste and texture of real meat. They sell core protein items – chicken strips, beef crumbles, things like that. It tastes a lot of better than the competing products that are out there.”
Haugen also stated that the decision to focus on the increasing trends in the population to opt for plant-based nutrition was also due to seeing a lot of opportunities and room for growth. He stated:
“If you look at the overall trends – half the population is trying to avoid meat and yet there’s a continued demand for protein. And they’re avoiding meat for many reasons – whether environmental, health, or cost. Yet demand for protein is as high or higher than it’s ever been. So we think there is a lot of opportunity here.”
With a company the stature of General Mills taking notice of the increasing trends towards meat-free as well as unprocessed foods, hopefully more companies will follow suit and cater to changing tastes and diets–and realize it is also a financially sound move.