Big Food is Fostering Innovation

Large corporations have been noticing how consumers have been favoring products made by independent startup food companies, since a good chunk of those provide craft, high-quality, niche, and, a lot of times, healthier products.

Needless to say, big food wants in. Especially, since this specialty food segment has a tremendous growth potential.

So, how is big food seeking innovation?

Companies like Campbell Soup, Chobani, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Tyson Foods are creating innovation centers and/or partnering with existing incubators to help niche brands grow and flourish.

PepsiCo

Pepsico’s new center for innovation is called “The Hive.”

According to Food Dive, “this incubator will be a separate entrepreneurial group outside of the core headquarters that will help nurture niche products already in the portfolio,” like for example Stubborn Soda.

As Foodable has reported in the past, PepsiCo also partnered with a Chicago-based, food and beverage incubator, The Hatchery, in order to look at other startup brands that have the potential of becoming a possible venture for the beverage giant.

Tyson Foods

Earlier this year, Tyson Foods announced that it will be working with two incubators—Plug and Play and 1871—linking the food giant to innovation hailing from Silicon Valley and Chicago.

That’s not the first time Tyson showed it’s commitment for innovation. In fact, the company launched a venture capital fund in late 2016 “to invest in companies developing breakthrough technologies, business models and products to sustainably feed the growing world population,” according to the company website.

Since then, Tyson has invested in brands like for example Beyond Meat, that promote sustainability and others that promote the internet of food, like FoodLogiq.

Tyson is spearheading innovation through its own brand, ¡Yappah!, which aims to fight food waste by utilizing “forgotten” ingredients like rescued vegetable puree and spent grain to make protein crisps, and investments in companies like Future Meat Technologies, an Israel-based “biotechnology company aiming to transform global meat production through distributive manufacturing of fat and muscle cells, increasing food safety and reducing ecological impact worldwide,” as stated in the company’s website.

Chobani

Chobani is another company looking to foster innovation through its Food Tech Residency. The company set out specific challenges in the food and agriculture value chain they would like to tackle (like food waste, food safety, water conservation, logistics, etc.) and invites like-minded, early-stage tech and agriculture startups to apply for funding.

Currently, the brand is hosting it’s fourth incubator class, since it launched the program in 2016, with companies developing products like tea, hummus and allergen-free baking ingredients. Alongside the food startups, two tech companies will be participating in Chobani’s inaugural Tech Residency Program—CinderBio and Skyven Technologies.

Watch the video above to learn more and stay tuned to other Industry Pulse episodes to keep up with all the innovation happening around your business! To learn about other consumer trends involving sustainability like plant-based meals, watch the video below:

Is Beyond Meat Going to Public?

Beyond Meat is expected to be the first vegan company to go public in the near future, according to a recent report from "CNBC."

It's not surprising considering Beyond Meat has quickly emerged as one of the biggest players in the plant-based protein game.

Besides being the first plant-based burger to be sold in the meat section at Whole Foods, the company has partnered with restaurants and food distributors across the country to get the Beyond Burger on more menus.

So far, the company was sold over 25 million veggie burgers. Earlier this year, Beyond Meat was given the United Nations “Champion of the Earth” award.

Even the meat protein giant Tyson Foods sees potential in the plant-based burger market and made that clear when the company bought a 5 percent stake in Beyond Meat at the end of last year.

The plant-based industry is on the rise and is expected to be worth $5.2 billion in sales by 2020, according to Oregon-based Allied Market Research (AMR.) According to Nielsen, 40 percent of Americans are trying to eat more plant-based foods.

With that being said, Beyond Meat is especially attractive to investors. Bill Gates, Kleiner Perkins, and Kleiner Perkins, and Leonardo DiCaprio are all on the plant-based company's long list of investors.

But will these investors be pleased with an IPO event?

"Many of them are mission investors who might feel that the pressures of being a public company could slow down innovation. At the same time, they should be happy to see the company IPO as it will clear a path for others in this space, like Impossible Foods, to follow suit. Not to mention pocketing a nice return from their original investment in previous rounds," writes "Forbes."

The plant-based company has yet to comment but "CNBC" reported that "JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs are being targeted to lead the deal."

Read more about the speculated deal at "Forbes" now.

We recently sat down with Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Burger to discuss the company’s success. Listen to Beyond Meat’s unique story below.

Canada’s First QSR to Launch Veggie Burger Experiences Beyond Meat Shortages From High Demand

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Beyond Meat’s largest restaurant partner, A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. has experienced product shortages due to “extreme popularity” of its latest Beyond Burger offering which launched July 9.

According to Plant Based News, some vegan burger patty fans have been “unable to get their hands on it, leading numerous A&W outlets to post signs, with one saying: We are out of Beyond Burgers! Due to a Canada-wide shortage and the extreme popularity of the Beyond Burger, we have run out. Many stores may still carry them. We will continue serving them as soon as we can get more!! Thank you for making our new burger a success!!!”

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  • Beyond Meat's Burger and Sausage are in high-demand and now available through Sysco, Whole Foods, and TGI Fridays.

Ethan Brown grew up on a farm. It was this childhood that led him to believe that there had to be a different way to create delicious meats. Using science (and a little time) Brown developed a plant protein burger that has been lauded for its incredible performance as an imitation beef burger. Reviews illustrate nothing less than pure disbelief in tasting the “bleeding” burger.

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Earlier this year, Foodable reported on products from companies like Beyond Meat, which is looking to replace animal meat by using a plant-based product for its Beyond Burgers, and Ripple, which is a company offering a milk-like product strictly made out of peas. Those are just a couple of examples of a larger move towards plant-based or alternative protein.

Thanks to the low costs on biotech tools, a handful of startups, mainly concentrated around the Bay Area, are “using a biotech process called fermentation to make animal products,” reports “Fortune.”

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