Every week we track the business, tech and investment trends in CPG, retail, restaurants, agriculture, cooking and health, so you don’t have to. Here are some of this week’s top headlines.
Three major investments were made this week to challenge traditional players in the F&B space. Brandless scored $240 million from SoftBank’s Vision Fund. Apeel Sciences raised $70 million from Viking Hedge Funds. Bulletproof 360, the science-based food and beverage product maker, secured $40 million led by CAVU Venture Partners. In addition, Nestle is piloting its baby food line, Gerber, on the blockchain.
In retail news, a new study has found that online grocery shopping accounts for 5.5 percent of total grocery spending in the US. Kroger is capitalizing on this growth with the launch of its new delivery service, Kroger Ship.
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SoftBank’s $100b Vision Fund invested in Brandless, valuing it at over $500m. The company sells about 300 home-goods staples, mostly for $3 each.
Nestlé SA is putting some of its Gerber baby food products on the blockchain, part of a wider food-industry exercise aimed at improving food recalls by using the technology behind bitcoin to trace ingredients worldwide.
Kroger Ship will allow shoppers to stock-up on necessary non-perishables and get deliveries as quick as the next day. It will first launch in cities across the Midwest and South.
The $26b firm led a $70m fundraising round for Apeel Sciences, which has now raised a total of $110m as it pitches its products to grocers. The latest investment will help accelerate the company’s work across avocado, citrus, berry, stone fruit and asparagus categories.
Other participants in the round included Trinity Ventures, an early Starbucks and Jamba Juice investor, and Silicon Valley Bank. Funding will go towards expanding its product line.
Nearly 30% of US households buy groceries online, and most of the near-term growth in online grocery spending will continue to come from this group. Over the past year, online shoppers increased their weekly online spending from 28% to 46%.
The partnership is wide-ranging and it will cover delivery, a virtual store and collaboration on Alibaba’s “new retail” Hema stores. Starbucks will work with Ele.me to allow customers to order and receive coffee without visiting a store.
The five businesses include Food Services of America Inc, Systems Services of America Inc, Amerifresh Inc, Ameristar Meats Inc and Gampac Express Inc. The companies together brought in $3.2b in net sales last year.
The shutdown won’t be finalized until later this year, after the majority of Eat24 users have migrated over to Grubhub’s platform. Diners were not sufficiently attached to the Eat24 brand.
In Europe, plants created with gene-editing technologies will be stringently regulated as GMO’s. But older crops whose DNA has been altered will be left alone.