- Josh Tetrick, Hampton Creek’s CEO, said the company is no longer being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission or the U.S. Department of Justice, according to CNN.
- The manufacturer of plant-based vegan offerings such as Just Mayo and Beyond Eggs was being investigated by the agencies after a Bloomberg News article said the company was involved in an elaborate scheme to buy its product from stores to make it look more popular.
- Since launching in 2011, Hampton Creek has raised approximately $120 million in funding.
Last August, Hampton Creek was close to finalizing a funding round that valued the company at about $1.1 billion but it quickly went from a food industry darling to pariah when Bloomberg published the story about the reported improprieties. Bloomberg reported the company ran a large-scale operation in which contract employees would buy Just Mayo and other products from retailers in an effort to drive up its popularity.
Now that the investigations are over and attorneys for the company say no further action will be taken, the company will try to build up its reputation and return to trying to grow in the space with funding. Whether people will shy away from connecting to the brand remains to be seen.
Some analysts believe that with the investigations behind them, Hampton Creek might be an attractive acquisition target. A new owner would silence any past problems and give the company room to grow in the manner it was originally headed. However, founder and CEO Josh Tetrick told Food Dive last June — before the cloud of the investigations loomed overhead — that the company was not for sale. Period. It remains to be seen if the company has changed its tune.
One thing that can be counted on: Hampton Creek is not likely to be silent. Tetrick is known for speaking his mind — about competition and about politics. This month, former Uber corporate communications head Andrew Noyes became Hampton Creek's senior director of communications. Coming from a dynamic company with its share of crises to get through, Noyes can help cut through whatever controversy surrounds Hampton Creek to get the brand's message out.
Hampton Creek has recently opened three new labs in its San Francisco headquarters and is continuing business full-steam ahead. It may be able to continue past the controversy, especially considering the fights that Hampton Creek has won in years past. Through the years, the company has triumphed over lawsuits, improper ad targeting from the American Egg Board and scrutiny about health claims from the Food and Drug Administration.