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[email protected]: CircleUp has $125M for startup CPG brands | Unilever's new hair care brand targets natural shoppers

Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

CircleUp’s $125 million fund looks to bring moneyball to backing consumer brand winners

CircleUp is adding to its core business—its crowdfunding investment marketplace—by investing in early-stage CPG companies itself through a new fund, CircleUp Growth Partners. CircleUp says it will use its Helio software to identify breakout brands before other investors get to them, and to provide important data points to the investment team, which plans to invest $1 million to $5 million in some three dozen brands over three years. The fund has already backed supplement company Hum Nutrition and 4505 Meats, which makes sustainably produced pork rinds. Read more at Forbes…

 

Unilever uses startup mindset to create new brand targeting natural consumers

When it realized its existing hair care brands like Dove and TRESemme weren’t exactly meeting the needs of consumers who crave natural products, Unliever set out to build a new brand. A year later, the result is ApotheCARE Essentials, an 18-product line that the company says combines nature with technology. It hinges on six base ingredients and four fragrances. Read more at CNBC…

 

Organic farmers are worried about getting squeezed by big business

Small organic producers may have to hone their negotiating skills as consolidation as big retailers capture more sales of organic goods. Some farmers say bigger buyers are more difficult to establish an equitable relationship with and less likely to enter into long-term contracts. Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek…

 

The return of small-format stores

Meijer has plans for smaller-format grocery stores in its home state of Michigan. Target, too, has said it would pursue smaller “flexible format” stores. Hy-Vee, the Midwestern grocery chain, has been experimenting with different formats. Meanwhile, Germany discounter Lidl has moved into the U.S. with smaller stores with limited selection. Read more at Progressive Grocer…

 

Quaker Foods in partnership to fight food waste

Quaker and the James Beard Foundation teamed up on More Taste, Less Waste, a campaign that seeks to advance the conversation around food waste. The foundation hosted a national contest that challenged chefs to develop recipes using Quaker oats as the foundation and also incorporated foods that would otherwise go to waste. Read more at Food Business News...

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