- General Mills is starting a venture capital sector to invest in the competition before they gain traction in the industry. 301 Inc. has been a part of General Mills for three years, though its first iteration was a way to create smaller brands in-house.
- "We have found that more and more innovation was coming from small companies," according to John Haugen, vice president and general manager of 301 Inc.
- The company did not say if its VC unit started investing. The company's "test run," according to Fortune, is a minority stake in Beyond Meat, a plant-based food manufacturer.
The move is the right direction for the company, one that's seen net sales dip — 2% to $17.6 billion last year — in the large consumer shift away from processed foods.
The 301 Inc. strategy is shifting toward smaller, more nimble startups. In some instances, the company may broker deals that would have the company outright purchasing the startup.
Fortune points out that had General Mills invested early in Annie's, it wouldn't have needed to buy it for $820 million.