Plant-based frozen smoothie company Bright Greens has raised $2 million in seed funding led by eighteen94 capital, Kellogg’s venture capital fund, reports FoodBusinessNews.
Bright Greens offers frozen smoothie cubes that do not require a blender. Consumers add hot water and shake the product. The smoothies come in four flavors: Bright Blueberry, Pineapolis, Mintergreen and Peaches & Green. They are available in some Whole Foods stores and more than 1,000 Kroger stores.
The smoothie maker is the second investment for eighteen94 capital, which was started in June 2016. Its first investment was in Kuli Kuli, which makes nutrition bars, powders, teas and energy shots featuring moringa, a West African superfood.
Kellogg’s venture capital fund is looking for “next generation innovation,” which increases its access to new ideas and trends — an increasingly common approach among the world’s largest food companies. Unilever and Tate & Lyle have set up venture capital arms, while other companies have gone the acquisition route, buying out innovative start-ups that tap into the latest consumer trends. Hershey acquired Krave nitrite-free jerky in 2015, and General Mills took over natural and organic specialist Annie’s a year earlier.
These acquisitions and investments provide a fascinating picture of where the industry’s biggest players see the future of food. For Kellogg, many of its investments so far have been at the crossroads of health and convenience, which seems fitting considering the company’s origins as the inventor of cornflakes, one of the world’s earliest processed foods produced with health in mind.
For consumers, desire for health and convenience are among their biggest purchase motivators. According to a recent report from PwC, 47% of millennial consumers changed their eating habits during the past year toward a healthier diet. In addition, 53% of under-35s said they intended to eat healthier over the coming year.
Convenience has become a key trend, with consumers willing to pay more for concepts that cut preparation time. One of the major success stories has been the rise of meal kits, with sales expected to hit $1.5 billion this year. According to Nielsen, convenience was one of the most common themes across the fastest-growing food and beverage categories last year.