- 301 INC, the business development and venture unit of General Mills, invested $3 million in organic granola and ready-to-eat cereal and oatmeal manufacturer Purely Elizabeth, according to Food Business News.
- Purely Elizabeth is scheduled to launch a line of superfood mushroom-powered Wellness Bars later this summer.
- Other startups 301 INC has invested in includes Farmhouse Culture, D’s Naturals, Rhythm Superfoods, Good Culture, Kite Hill and Tio Gazpacho.
Since first establishing its 301 INC venture capital arm, General Mills has been big on investing in food startups and has been aggressive in striking quickly, before a company gets too well known. The Purely Elizabeth brand continues that line of thinking and adding the company fits well into its strategy.
According to General Mills’ most recent quarterly report, net sales have fallen 7% over the last year, so it’s a savvy move to look for up-and-comers in the food industry. Since Purely Elizabeth set to launch a new brand of wellness bars this August, backing from General Mills can help push the brand over the top. And with its base in cereal and granola, Purely Elizabeth fits into the manufacturer's niche of products like Cheerios, Chex and Fiber One
John Haugen, vice president and general manager of 301 INC, said that smaller companies are able to innovate and pivot faster than big food companies, and they have a lot of intuition and empathy when it comes to their consumer.
“For example, many entrepreneurs are developing a new product for someone in their family or a friend, which builds an emotional connection,” he told Food Dive in an email. “They don’t get bogged down with numbers, but instead develop a deep sense of what people like and what they don’t, allowing them to be much more nimble than a large company.”