Rather than risk being outflanked or surprised by hot, young food-industry disruptors, General Mills is partnering with entrepreneurs through its business development and venture capital arm, 301 INC, to take ownership stakes and help their businesses grow.
“It gives us an opportunity to build that relationship early and to help accelerate their growth,” says John Haugen, vice president of 301, which led a $1.25 million funding round for Tio Gazpacho that closed last week. “Down the road it can create opportunities for those brands to become part of General Mills.”
Big packaged-food companies are targeting small players as a way of reaching health-conscious consumers who might otherwise shun them. In the process, the giants can learn from the small, nimble start-ups.
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