A Financial Poise Column about the travels and learning of a food tech investor.
Growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s was very different from today. My favorite sandwich was the classic PB&J. Today, I would be out of luck — most schools in the U.S. don’t allow peanut butter due to the prevalence of life-threatening peanut allergies. I don’t remember any kids with a food allergy while growing up, let alone a life-threatening one. Fast forward to today, and of course we all know food allergies pervade in our schools and society.
Venture capital, family offices and CPG companies are pouring money into plant-based alternatives for meat, dairy and eggs. Increasingly, people under 40 display concern about their health, climate change and the environmental impacts of industrial livestock farming.
Why should you give up diet soda, limit antibiotic use and start eating fermented foods? Over the last five years, there have been key research breakthroughs in the link between gut health and your brain, immunology and overall health.
As a food investor, I am often skeptical of the staying power of emerging trends. Is the trend a fad? Or, is it truly a groundswell that will change long-term eating patterns. According to Statista, the gluten-free foods market was $2.4 billion in 2015, up 41% from $1.7 billion in 2010. And it is projected to triple—up to $7.6 billion—by 2020.