Ben Branson, founder of Seedlip drink manufacturer poses for a portrait in London, Britain May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
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Nine of the world's biggest industry players, including Danone, General Mills, Campbell Soup and Kellogg, have launched venture capital units over the past 18 months, a Reuters analysis of the sector shows.The nine companies to recently launch venture capital arms also include Hain Celestial, Tyson Foods and Pernod Ricard.Diageo, the world's biggest liquor maker, has invested in 14 startups through its venture capital arm Distill Ventures, spending about 30 million pounds (almost $40 million) over the last four years on minority stakes.Seedlip founder Ben Branson and other food and drink startups are reveling in this surge of investment interest.Olivier Garel used to run M&A for Unilever and now runs Unilever Ventures.Unilever Ventures has invested in more than three dozen startups and says it is in contact with about 2,500 . Augustin Paluel-Marmont, who sold 40 percent of his French cookie company Michel et Augustin to Danone Manifesto Ventures last year, said it was a good time to be a food startup.
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