Food and drink megabrands are seeing their sales chewed away by smaller, nimbler, cooler rivals. They can’t beat them – so now they’re joining them.
Nine of the world’s biggest industry players, including Danone, General Mills, Campbell Soup and Kellogg, have launched venture capital units over the past 18 months, a Reuters analysis of the sector shows.
The aim of the strategy, according to interviews with executives, is to buy into – and learn from – the kind of start-up innovation that has become their nemesis, from micro-distilled spirits and cold-pressed juices to kale chips and vegan burgers.
Food and drink multinationals spend far less on R&D than their counterparts in many sectors like tech and healthcare. They have been wrongfooted over the past five years by the shifting habits of consumers who are increasingly shunning established brands in favor of small, independent names they regard as healthier, more authentic