Given the challenges supermarkets are facing right now such as online competition and changing consumer preferences, big food needs to badly come up with hot relevant new ideas.

Cereal giant General Mills (GIS) , battling weak sales of yogurt and cereal, has tasked one of its divisions with cooking up the next big thing in food.

301 Inc, which taps into General Mills' cash-rich balance sheet to help fund its transactions, has been around for more than four years. The first two years, 301 Inc.'s team created and seed launched a number of its own businesses. But after finding that it was pretty tough to develop new food businesses from scratch, 301 Inc. began pivoting toward taking minority stakes in emerging brands with a health and wellness angle. The fund now has stakes in eight emerging companies such as plant-based protein brand Beyond Meat and organic snack brand Purely Elizabeth. 

The pitch by 301 Inc. to passionate food entrepreneurs on a mission is simple, the division's leader John Haugen told TheStreet. Join forces with us and we will help scale your business by providing the capital, expertise and industry connections necessary to do so.

On the flip side, the 151-year old General Mills gets to not only tap into the enthusiasm of these fresh-faced entrepreneurs, but also builds relationships with them that may lead to the sale of a fast-growing business to the food giant in the future. But, as Haugen points, the costs of acquiring such enthusiasm is on the rise as rival food players like Campbell's Soup (CPB) and Coca-Cola (KO) snoop around for acquisitions. 

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