In February I posted about FoodBytes! an event sponsored by a global financial services company that connects investors with innovators. Major CPG food & beverage companies (e.g., Campbell, Nestlé, etc.) are also partaking in private market investments to fund/acquire unique start-up brands.
Last week Kraft Heinz announced it was launching “Springboard”, an incubator program focused on start-up brands that produce healthy, organic or specialty products. Last year Kellogg and Conagra joined forces to fund a project called “The Hatchery”, Nestlé invested in an accelerator program targeting food/agriculture start-ups and Tyson increased its original (5%) investment in California-based vegan company Beyond Meat. The big company incubator strategy undertakes minimal risk and pairs the smaller start-up brands with the stealth expertise (e.g., R&D, marketing, distribution, etc.) of established CPG companies. As a result, the innovative brands benefit from a fast-track new product entry.
Welcome to the age of Big Incubators.