It seems every major list of food trends to watch in 2018 has mentioned the rising plant-based food category. From innovative pea protein milk to meat substitutes that perfectly mimic the taste, texture, and smell of meat, there is no shortage of new companies and products entering the market to compete with traditional meat and dairy.

To consumers, the new additions to grocery store shelves are a welcome surprise, but these plant-based products hardly got there by accident. In a recent episode of #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias, Chris Kerr discusses the role investors have played in helping plant-based products break into the mainstream.

Chris has been helping plant-based food companies get early-stage funding for over a decade. He now serves as the Investment Manager for New Crop Capital, a specialized private venture capital fund that invests in entrepreneurs whose products or services replace foods derived from conventional animal agriculture, that has helped fund companies such as Beyond Meat, Miyoko’s Kitchen, Good Catch Foods, and Memphis Meats. Before he got involved with New Crop, Chris worked on the Humane Society of the United State’s efforts to fund some of the early plant-based companies – in fact, he played a key role helping to secure a Whole Foods distribution deal for Daiya cheese.

In many regards, Chris was one of the first people leading early investment efforts into plant-based companies, and those initial funds are what has helped launch many of the brands we know and love today. In this conversation, Chris shares more about what helped make some of the major players – like Field Roast, and Gardein – successful and gives advice for new companies who are looking to get started in vegan food today.

For more insights into getting funding for vegan companies and how Chris hows to shape the future food system through his work, listen in!

You can listen to the full episode below or on the following platforms: iTunesGoogle PlaySpotifyStitcher.

If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast for new episodes with food industry leaders, health, and sustainability experts, as well as entrepreneurs and creative minds who are redefining the future of food.

Image source:  Trong Nguyen/Shutterstock