Venture Capital & The Future of Food


in this episode

Julianne Hummelberg is Vice President at PowerPlant VC, a company that has invested in several plant-based food companies many of which are household names you might know such as Beyond Meat, Veggie Grill and JUST.

She believes the world of venture and private capital can play a big role in fixing our food system by investing in companies who are operating by higher standards but still designed to be profitable and scale.

How does scaling a plant-based food business fit into a world already struggling with monocropping agriculture? How do you put the right value on non-bottom line economic measures when you are optimizing for financial returns? What is the right role of regulation in a world that incentivizes free market solutions?

Those questions and more in this episode.

Also, Julianne is kind enough to offer all of our podcast listeners a discount code for one of the companies she’s invested into called OWYN, which is a fantastic nut free, dairy free, soy free, and gluten free protein shake. Enjoy 20% off on any purchase of $25 or more until the end of the year using the code OWYNPPV2020.


(0:54) Introduction to Julianne and her work
(4:08) What is the Future of Food?
(7:00) Key Statistics on modern food system
(7:45) How to prioritize the needs in Food
(12:04) Challenges of Industrial Farming & Monocropping
(21:38) How we evaluate our investments at PowerPlant
(25:30) Promo offer from OWYN
(26:13) Role of Regulation
(30:05) Setting Industry Benchmarks
(34:20) Ensuring plant-based, healthy foods are accessible and affordable
(40:30) China’s Role in a move towards plant-based foods
(47:24) The Sugar-Tax Debate
(54:00) GMOs and why we can’t look at them all through a single lens
(57:10) Correlating financial returns and Impact
(1:00:07) Local vs. National
(1:03:36) Covid’s lasting effects on the Food Industry
(1:14:00) Julianne’s Book, Film, Action Recommendations & Favorite Animal