A Food-Tech Company Raised $90 Million For Mayonnaise
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The more you go back in time, the less information and technology there was relating to food. Organic, non-GMO, grass-fed, gluten-free, hyper-specific classifications of our food today is rather new, and not too long ago did these terms have zero relevance in the world. Well, in 2014, we know more about our food than ever before. From the moment seeds are planted to the plate we serve, technology has enabled us to understand a tremendous amount of data on the food we eat. One company in San Francisco, Hampton Creek, is making quite a big splash with food and technology, because they just raised $90 million for their main product… mayonnaise.
Hampton Creek is swapping out eggs for pea protein in their products, primarily mayonnaise, and now sells their product in grocery stores, universities, and restaurants across the country. The plant-based “Just Mayo” products are currently in Whole Foods, along with other major retailers and wholesale stores. According to Unilever, the holding company of Hellman’s Mayonnaise, Hampton Creek is splashing a bit too much in the pool. They are attempting to sue Hampton Creek claiming real mayonnaise has eggs in it, and therefore the “Just Mayo” product is not accurate.
Here’s where the technology side of Hampton Creek comes in. First, they have a heavy-hitting roster of investors, including Bill Gates, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, Braintree founder Bryan Johnson, Blue Bottle Coffee Executive Chairman Bryan Meehan, and many more. Second, Hampton Creek uses plants to replace standard ingredients, so they’re adding talent to build out the largest plant database. Currently, the two main products, mayonnaise and cookie dough, use Canadian yellow peas, and their ambitious to add new plants into the mix, literally. Technology will allow them to analyze and understand plants at various levels. Incorporating tech with crops, climate, location, and other factors might lead to new, healthier, undiscovered sources of nutrients.
Hampton Creek is working on a scrambled eggs product, pasta, and others. They hope to be in grocery stores around the world soon, so you might be able to get your hands on $90 million mayonnaise sooner than you’d think. Hampton Creek also plans to use the new capital to expand to other parts of the globe, such as Western Europe and Asia.
UPDATE: Unilever drops lawsuit against Hampton Creek. Mike Faherty of Unilever North America said, “We applaud Hampton Creek’s commitment to innovation and its inspired corporate purpose. We share a vision with Hampton Creek of a more sustainable world. It is for these reasons that we believe Hampton Creek will take the appropriate steps in labeling its products going forward.”
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