Investing in the future of food at Expo West

Natural Products Expo West was held March 9-12 in Anaheim, Calif.


by Monica Watrous, Food Business News

March 16, 2017


ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Emerging brands in the natural and organic marketplace have captured the attention of institutional investors in the past year — a trend that was as clear as coconut water at Natural Products Expo West, said Ross Davisson, vice-president of operations at CircleUp.


“The show was a good place to see firsthand how many of these larger companies with V.C. arms are looking for investments and trying to figure out how to play in this early-stage space,” Mr. Davisson told Food Business News.


CircleUp is an investment platform that connects food start-ups with venture capital firms. The company has partnered with Campbell Soup Co.’s Acre Venture Partners and General Mills’ 301 INC to facilitate investments in such brands as Back to the Roots and Rhythm Superfoods.


“When you think about the size of Expo West and how big it has gotten, so much innovation in food and beverage is happening in the natural food space,” Mr. Davisson said. “It’s interesting how the line has blurred between the natural food industry and the general food industry and how much of the growth and innovation is coming from that space.”


Bone broth, bean-based snacks and kombucha were among some of the hottest trends Mr. Davisson spotted at Expo West, which was held March 9-12 in Anaheim...