Every week we track the business, tech and investment trends in CPG, retail, restaurants, agriculture, cooking and health, so you don’t have to. Here are some of this week’s top headlines.
Fresh off the heels of Oatly’s IPO last week, the company has announced a nationwide rollout at Starbucks cafes. Beyond Meat has also nailed global deals with McDonald’s and Yum! Brands, which will expand its reach to more than 50,000 restaurants in more than 150 countries.
Danone has begun its search for a new CEO, replacing Emmanuel Faber, in an attempt to alleviate pressure from shareholders who have called for new management to revive the world’s largest yogurt maker.
Last but not least, Instacart has raised $265 million, doubling its valuation to $39 billion.
Note From our Team: Our hearts are with our brothers and sisters in Texas. As people struggle with food, water, power and warmth, we hope you will join us in donating money, food and supplies to help the vulnerable in the city. Check out this comprehensive Google Document for a list of ways you can help.
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Check out our weekly round-up of last week’s top food startup, tech and innovation news below or peruse the full newsletter here.
Starbucks cafes nationwide will carry Oatly’s nondairy substitute starting Tuesday.
2. Danone Starts Search for New CEO as Faber to Give Up Role – Bloomberg
Emmanuel Faber will step down as chief executive officer in an attempt to alleviate pressure from shareholders who have called for new management to revive the world’s largest yogurt maker.
The round was led by existing investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and others. The new funding will be spent on advertising and to connect customers with retailers, as well as increase corporate headcount by 50% in 2021.
VegTech currently features 21 companies and will be reporting monthly to reflect the investment sentiment and health of the industry.
5. Beyond Meat Confirms 3-Year Deal With McDonald’s, Major Collab with Yum! Brands KFC, Pizza Hut & Taco Bell – Green Queen
The partnership with Yum! will expand Beyond Meat’s reach to 50k restaurants in more than 150 countries. It will become the preferred supplier of the McPlant burger, which is currently being trialed in Denmark and Sweden before a global roll-out.
The burrito chain is following in the footsteps of Starbucks and McDonald’s, both of which recently announced that performance for racial and gender diversity goals will impact executive compensation plans.
7. Gov Greg Abbott’s Decision to Fully Reopen Restaurants Puts Service Industry Workers at Even More Risk – Eater
Without a plan to vaccinate food service workers, the governor’s plan to roll back capacity limits and the mask mandate endangers some of Texas’s most vulnerable.
Farmers Edge said it will use most of the proceeds for business expansion, with a focus on internal growth based on existing partnerships.
9. Germany: Thiel-Backed Psychedelics Firm Hits $2B Valuation – Bloomberg
Atai Life Sciences has raised $157m ahead of its IPO. Founder Christian Angermayer and Thiel Capital led the round.
The round includes $135m led by Coatue and $35m in the form of a convertible note led by Brookfield Technology Partners. Funding will go towards expanding its team.
11. Has a Startup Finally Found One of Food Science’s Holy Grails with Its Healthy Sugar Substitute? – TechCrunch
Y Combinator graduate Supplant has raised $24m for its sugar replacement from Manta Ray, Khosla Ventures, Felicis and others. Funding will be used to start commercializing its low-cost sugar substitute.
12. Thousands of Farmworkers Are Prioritized for the Coronavirus Vaccine – New York Times
A landmark initiative in California is taking vaccines to the fields, targeting an immigrant work force that is at high risk for Covid-19. Many of the workers are undocumented, raising questions about whether they should have priority.
Arthur Chow, VP at S2G Venture’s, explains why Amazon’s early foundation may provide a clue as to why brick-and-mortar will still be needed to build a resilient grocery supply chain.
We have a responsibility to all stakeholders in our supply chains to pursue deep and substantive change, starting with the social and economic issues that underlie how we grow, make, distribute and sell food. Errol Schweizer, host of The Checkout Radio and former VP of grocery for Whole Foods Market, shares 5 actions food retailers, brands and supply chain stakeholders must take to create a more fair, just and sane food system.
15. How Thrive Market, Once Upon a Farm, Omsom and Tagger Media Are Reimagining Discovery, Acquisition and Loyalty
The unprecedented events of the last year forced food brands to quickly adapt to their customer’s needs and shopping behaviors, while also navigating a rapidly changing grocery retail landscape. Founders share how they grew their businesses through new approaches to customer discovery, acquisition and loyalty.
Check out our list of resources to learn about systemic racism in the food and agriculture industries. We also highlight Black food and farm businesses and organizations to support.
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