Grupo Bimbo, the world’s biggest baked goods manufacturer, has become the latest food multinational to set up an in-house investment arm.

The Mexico-based business has formed Bimbo Ventures, a unit “dedicated to find and drive entrepreneurs’ projects”.

The company is using Bimbo Ventures to team up with Mexico-based venture-capital firm Bluebox Ventures in order to launch a start-up accelerator programme to help fledgling companies in the food industry establish themselves. 

Bimbo and Bluebox are invited companies to join the programme, which is called Eleva Food Technology by Bimbo. The companies are looking to work with start-ups on areas including new products, supply chain, distribution, payment methods, automation and operations, renewable energies and retail, Bimbo said.
Ten start-up companies selected to be part of Eleva will join the acceleration programme for 16 weeks.
“Through Bimbo Ventures and Eleva we are offering startups with innovative and high potential initiatives the possibility to develop their projects hand in hand with Grupo Bimbo, through a comprehensive model that encompasses three fundamental aspects: mentoring, funding and trade alliances,” said Bimbo Ventures vice president José Manuel Ramírez.

Bimbo had not responded to a request for further comment at the time of writing.

A number of international packaged food companies have been looking at different ways to work with start-up or early-stage businesses in a bid to tap into some of the emerging consumer trends driving the sector.

Earlier this month, PepsiCo named the companies it is backing in Europe through an “incubator” programme. Eight companies will receive a EUR25,000 (US$28,000) grant and six months of advice from PepsiCo management. At the end of the programme, one of the eight companies will receive an additional EUR100,000.