Episode #6 – Chris Kerr: On Transforming The Worst Offenders In The Food Industry
“All ships are rising in the plant-based foods sector – not only is the demand there, it’s not even being met.”
I love this episode for so many reasons! First of all, because The Plant-Based Entrepreneur probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for what Chris Kerr is doing. Second, because the things we discuss here and his knowledge are exactly what you need when you’re running or setting up a new plant-based business. And finally, because Chris is one of those people where if you have the chance to talk to him and pick his brain for an hour, you’ll soon wish you could be taking notes. Good thing we recorded everything, right?
As you can imagine, we spent a lot of time talking about the food industry – how it’s being transformed by plant-based products, what’s the role of NCC and other investors in this, what makes high-tech food startups different than low-tech food startups and how they both differ compared to just-tech startups, how much untapped potential exists in the sector and where we are taking it.
You’ll notice the term “Share of stomach” comes up a lot in our talk. As Entrepreneur In Residence at the Good Food Institute and one of the founders of New Crop Capital, it’s at the core of what Chris does – help companies developing plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy and egg products get on the market and establish their share. Since its inception 6 months ago, Chris has been busy, with New Crop Capital investing in companies such as Beyond Meat, Miyoko’s Kitchen and New Wave Foods. Not bad for a guy who, by his own admission, was “on the wrong side of history for pretty much all the social issues out there” not so long ago. Just shows what a helpful nudge in the right direction and a desire for vegan comfort food can do (you’ll also notice Chris is very much a cheese guy), when it’s coupled with decades of entrepreneurial experience.
Once again, this interview is one where you’ll definitely want to listen closely and rewind a couple times so you’re not missing anything. And if you’re working on filling one of those white spots in the industry or figuring out how to get your share of stomach in the market, I can really very warmly recommend reaching out to Chris and the team at New Crop Capital/Good Food Institute!
(Oh, and I don’t require my guests to send in pictures with their favorite animal… but there’s definitely a pattern happening here.)
Chris on LinkedIn
The venture fund Chris manages: New Crop Capital
…and its twin: Good Food Institute
Chris mentions both NCC and GFI as the brainchild of two people: Nick Cooney
…and the founder of Mercy For Animals: Nathan Runkle
The first investment partner of NCC: Stray Dog Capital
The Japanese concept of interconnected, collaborative business relationships: Keiretsu
An example of plant-based foods in the big league: White Wave Foods
The FAIRR/ShareAction report in favor of phasing out animal products: The Investment Case for a Protein Shakeup (pdf)
Some of the brands in Chris’s fridge:
Favorite restaurants mentioned (NYC):
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