301 Inc. has been reshaped to focus on emerging brands

301 Inc. has been reshaped to focus on emerging brands

General Mills has decided its innovation department 301 Inc., which has focused on developing products in-house, will centre on providing capital to emerging food brands to create "breakthrough innovation in the food space".

301 Inc. will allow entrepreneurs and early stage food companies access to capital and General Mills' knowledge of the industry to "develop, grow and expand their businesses", the US group said today (22 October).

The unit was set up in 2012 and has developed General Mills products including Progresso and Nature Valley Bistro Cups - the first food products made with a single cup coffee brewer - and Nibblr - a customisable subscription-based snack delivery service, which was axed after 18 months.

John Haugen, vice president and general manager of 301 Inc., said of the original model: "That experience was invaluable and has given us significant insights into the challenges small, emerging businesses face in the marketplace. It has helped us to more clearly define the role 301 Inc. can play moving forward. We believe we can meet consumer needs faster than ever by combining the vision and passion of entrepreneurs with General Mills extensive capabilities.

"Tremendous opportunity exists outside of General Mills to partner with and foster emerging food brands," he added. "Through these partnerships we will help entrepreneurs scale their vision by providing them with a combination of capital and the capabilities that General Mills has built over the past 150 years in the food industry."

A spokesperson for General Mills told just-food that 301 Inc. "may continue to pursue product development in house [but] the focus will be on building partnerships with emerging food brands".