KANSAS CITY — A dazzling number of start-ups have entered the food and beverage marketplace in the past decade, triggering profound change across the industry and upending the consumer packaged goods landscape. Food Entrepreneur, a new supplement publishing six times a year in Food Business News and throughout the year at foodbusinessnews.net, offers a deep dive into the disruption effected by up-and-coming brands.
Food Entrepreneur will offer an inside look at the fundamentals of launching and scaling a food business, featuring exclusive interviews and highlighting the strategic issues affecting the industry while profiling its most successful and intriguing founders.
For many decades, the largest food and beverage brands appeared untouchable — until recently. Consumers’ changing and more adventurous tastes, a burgeoning digital marketplace and a growing discomfort with the bland, homogenous, cookie-cutter approach to innovation of large corporations were factors creating a breeding ground for start-ups armed with thoughtful ideas and, over time, increasing access to capital. Emerging brands began capturing market share and adding significant pressure on mainstream brands and traditional retail channels.
Venture capital firms, incubators and accelerators focused on food and beverage have proliferated in recent years to nurture these promising upstarts. Large companies, seeking new paths to growth, are funding or acquiring early-stage businesses, particularly those positioned around transparency, sustainability, health and authenticity.
As a result, multiyear product development cycles have been compressed to a matter of months. Teams within large organizations are tasked with developing and incubating new brands that respond to consumer trends. Suppliers must scramble to keep pace.
This phenomenon is occurring across industries, from fashion to fitness to health care. A widespread fascination with innovation and entrepreneurship is underscored by the popularity of National Public Radio’s podcast “How I Built This” and the television show “Shark Tank.”
The goal of Food Entrepreneur is to shine a light on the movers and shakers at the ground floor of innovation while tracking related activity in the investment community and consumer packaged foods sector. Content will include many of the activities and topics relevant to start-up companies, such as funding, co-manufacturing, influencer marketing, regulatory matters, food safety and more. Food Entrepreneur will cover the latest news, trends and events surrounding small businesses.
The inaugural issue taps the wisdom of RXBAR founder Peter Rahal, who sold his protein bar business to Kellogg Co. for $600 million two years ago. He shares his perspective from both sides of the spectrum, as an innovator as well as an investor.
“I think there are a lot of entrepreneurs who are trying to make foods that solve a problem that doesn’t exist,” Mr. Rahal said. “It’s hard for investors, retailers, suppliers, all stakeholders to filter through what is real and what isn’t.”
Over the past 15 years, Food Business News has offered readers comprehensive and authoritative coverage of a rapidly changing food and beverage industry. The launch of Food Entrepreneur represents a sharper focus on the most exciting and consequential force in the sector today, offering the unparalleled reporting and analysis of developments critical for food industry executives to understand.