The venture capital arm of General Mills has made an investment in another food startup, announcing on Tuesday that it participated in a funding round for cottage cheese maker Good Culture.
California-based Good Culture said it closed a $2.1 million financing round with lead investments coming from CAVU venture partners and 301 Inc., which is a business unit of General Mills (GIS) that takes investment stakes in small regional food startups that are looking for capital to grow.
“We are thrilled to partner with Good Culture,” said John Haugen, vice president and general manager of 301 Inc, in a statement. Haugen said General Mills’ resources can help the startup grow in a category that is gaining more attention from grocery shoppers: nutrient dense, high protein snacks.
As Fortune reported last year, 301 Inc. looks to invest in startups that are competing in new categories, taking stakes in smaller brands that could eventually result in a full acquisition, though that is not a requirement. It is a way for the cereal maker, with $17.6 billion in annual sales, to keep a pulse on the fast changes in the world of food and beverage as millennials and other consumers gravitate toward new brands with feel-good messages.
Other investments 301 Inc. has made include stakes in plant-based food maker Beyond Meat and kale chips brand Rhythm Superfoods.
Good Culture is a very new food startup that focuses on selling cottage cheese that is high in protein, low in sugar and never uses gums or thickeners. It has already found some key retail success, stocking the company’s savory and sweet cottage cheeses on retail shelves at Whole Foods Market (WFM) and Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM).
Founders Jesse Merrill and Anders Eisner say their brand’s cottage cheese includes non-GMO ingredients and comes from grass-fed milk from cows that live on sustainable family farms. Like many food startups, it also vows to give back to the community: 1% of sales goes toward a network of nonprofits dedicated to protecting the environment.