Where We Are Investing Now: Next Gen Food and Drink

In my last post, I talked about our focus on Digital Brands.

Food, drink, and new ingredients certainly are part consumer goods and digital brands. But this area is unique enough to deserve its own explanation.

That’s because food and drink are not only digital products, but also new expressions of the emerging science of health and happiness. Increasingly, young people (and many scientists) are viewing what we eat as the first step in medicine and prevention: Food as Medicine. They also see increasing ties between food and how we feel and function: Food as Mood. Substances traditionally known as food are also sliding into clothing as part of the naturalization of fashion. Food and water stand at the center of environmental concerns in terms of maintaining ample supplies for the world population and as large contributors to pollution and global warming.

So, our focus on food and drink has strong ties into our focus on Life Sciences and Biome on the one hand, and Agriculture and Logistics on the other.

Our investment focus on food and drink is on the bleeding (excuse the expression) scientific edge. We aren’t just simply investing in the next fad snack. We are looking deeper: to the new, the radical, the transformed.

Our food/beverage focus is on:

  • Lab-grown meat for pets. Not for humans yet because we think the path to market it too long. We predict lab meat for pets will come first.

  • Lab-grown fish for humans. We see fish as the out-front lab food for people. We have invested actively here and will continue to.

  • Coffee/Tea. We’ll keep our eye on extreme innovation and big consumer appeal.

  • Food as clothing/earth-positive manufacturing. This area is heating up alongside consumer interest in the changing environment.  

  • Alternative proteins/New foods (peas, algae, fungi, etc.).  Lab-grown food has sci-fi appeal, but less complex approaches to new proteins remain the more practical product sources near-term. We have been active in non-meat meat and will to continue to be. We are also interested in insect and other non-traditional protein sources.

  • DNA-based nutrition. As genetic understanding and access to DNA information expand, personalized diets are emerging based on science.

  • Personalized supplements.  Our growing understanding of biome is creating new approaches for supplements. Inherently, these new food adjuncts will be personalized, since we all have unique biomes. The early elements of standard measurement are emerging here, which we think may spur market expansion.

You can’t get more fundamental than food and drink. Everyone on the planet does it. But now, it is increasingly important that creation of the world’s food move away from total dependence on vast amounts of land and water. We need food, but our current modes of production may not stand up to a greater population and global warming.

Food must change, and we see enormous value from that shift.

By Managing Partner Mike Edelhart