- General Mills' 301 Inc. led a $1.25 million Series A funding round recently closed by Tio Gazpacho, which manufactures chilled, RTD vegetable soups.
- CircleUp, which has been instrumental in food and beverage startup funding, hosted the funding round. Other private investors from CircleUp's marketplace and the Growth Fund, an investment fund CircleUp oversees, also contributed.
- Tio Gazpacho's products are currently available in the New York area, but the startup plans to expand into new markets.
301 Inc. has been on a roll this year, with other investments including superfood snack maker Rhythm Superfoods and Good Culture organic cottage cheese products. Those are in addition to plant-based proteins producer Beyond Meat, which General Mills bought a minority stake in about two years ago.
Between plant-based proteins, superfood snacks, and cottage cheese, 301 Inc. investments fund promising companies in segments that are suggesting sustainable fast growth based on established consumer trends, such as snacking, protein, and plant-based foods.
But with Tio Gazpacho, 301 Inc. is entering a new segment of a wavering category. Canned soup sales have lagged for major producers in recent years. But Tio Gazpacho has reinvented soup by making a soup-beverage hybrid. The brand makes soup more portable and convenient while also incorporating better-for-you elements like high-pressure processing and organic ingredients.
Tio Gazpacho takes a common food option to a different level, which means soup lovers may bite if they can get beyond the higher price tag. Founder and CEO Austin Allan told BevNET that the real opportunity for Tio Gazpacho lies in a smaller format with a lower price tag that will open the doors to more consumers looking for premium, convenient food and beverage options.