Campbell Starts a New Habit in Personalized Nutrition

Oct. 27, 2016
Campbell is the sole investor ($32-million) in Habit, a San Francisco-based personalized nutrition and meal-delivery company led by Plum Organics founder Neil Grimmer.

Campbell Soup Co., Camden, N.J., is betting on personalized nutrition as the sole, $32-million investor in Habit, a San Francisco-based personalized nutrition and meal-delivery company led by Plum Organics founder Neil Grimmer.  Habit's service, set to launch in 2017, will combine nutrition, technology and food delivery in one.

Habit develops nutrition recommendations based on a person's biology, metabolism and personal goals, and creates a so-called "personal blueprint." The Habit kit won’t be available until early next year. In the meantime, Habit and Campbell have established a wait list for those interested in the system.

"The entire food industry is being transformed by the fusion of food, well-being and technology," said Denise Morrison, Campbell's president and CEO, in a statement on Wednesday, Oct. 26. "Habit is well positioned in this wired for well-being space and poised to lead the personalized nutrition category," Morrison explained. "Campbell’s investment is part of our broader efforts to define the future of food, which requires fresh thinking, new models of innovation, smart external development and venture investing to create an ecosystem of innovative partners."

Habit founder Grimmer co-founded Plum Organics, which Campbell acquired for $249 million in June 2013. Plum Organics grew to become the second-largest baby food brand in the U.S. after Gerber. Plum Organics currently falls under the Americas Simple Meals and Beverages division at Campbell. Among its staff are nutrition scientists, health advisors, registered dietitians and chefs.

"I founded Habit after my own health and wellness wakeup call," said Grimmer in a statement. "Two years ago, my doctor looked me in the eyes and told me, a former Ironman triathlete, that I was on the road to some serious health issues. … After undergoing a complex and costly path of DNA and blood tests to understand my body’s fundamental nutrition needs, I realized there had to be a simpler, more accessible way for others to learn what foods and nutrients their bodies crave to be the healthiest they can be."

The investment in Habit shows the broader initiative Big Food is making to grab a part of small, disruptive food startups at a time when consumers are increasingly interested in newer brands, reported Fortune. In the past year alone, Campbell, Kellogg and General Mills have all set up venture capital arms (all operating under different business models) in efforts to get in on those trends. They’ve placed bets on kale chips, nut-based yogurts, and home-growing food kits. Campbell’s portion of Habit goes a bit beyond the trend, Fortune noted.

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