Tech-Food Startup Hampton Creek Being Accused Of Buying Its Own Products (HBO)

Tech-Food Startup Hampton Creek Being Accused Of Buying Its Own Products (HBO)


— Hampton Creek, a tech-food startup that aims to replace animal
products in food with more sustainable plant ones, has recently faced a slew of negative coverage accusing it of classic Silicon Valley
hubris and overreach: — The company was running
a large scale and very secret operation in which it sent contractors to purchase
hundreds of jars of its own products… — Josh Tetrick, a vegan with a background in the nonprofit world who once worked for the Liberian
leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, started the company in 2011
with $3,100 in his bank account. Since then, he’s raised $220 million from Silicon Valley investors
like Peter Thiel and Marc Benioff. He believes that most supermarkets are
full of foods that provide poor nutrition, and is built on industrial farming
and excessive water and land use. — Wow, it’s chilly in here. So what are we seeing? — It’s a plant library. This is where our entire world starts. There are about 353,000 species of plants
all around the world. Most of us are used to soy, corn, and wheat. And that’s about it. The very first step in our process is to bring those plants of the world
that we’ve kind-of forgotten about in, and this is where we store a portion of them. For us to be able to test them, to look at molecular properties, to look at functional properties, we have to mill them down. What we’re really looking for is, can we find a plant that is nutrient-dense, can we find a plant that will make a really good cake, or a plant that will make
healthier, more sustainable mayo without as much degradation to the environment? And that’s a challenge. — The milled plants are run through an automated lab, and end up in a kitchen where chefs, mostly hired from the molecular
gastronomy restaurant Moto in Chicago, try and make them into foods that are as good,
or better, than the ones they are replacing. — So tell me what this is. — This is our “Just Scramble.” It is a plant protein, a little bit of water,
some minerals, a little bit of salt. Have a taste, first. — Looks like an egg, it smells like an egg… — And how does it taste? — Tastes like an egg. Maybe like a falcon’s egg or something. — So far, Hampton Creek Sells
mayonnaise, dressings, doughs, and mixes, and plans to release scrambled eggs and
lab-grown chicken, steak, and fish in the coming years. A series of articles have accused Hampton Creek
of buying its own products to boost sales figure— and the company’s entire board
stepped down last month, with little explanation. The company itself has said it’s been the victim
of a smear campaign by the American Egg Board. It’s true that after emails detailing
the AEB’s campaign against Hampton Creek were released in 2015, the board’s chief executive stepped down. As with many technology stories,
the broader truth is hard to discern. Is this the usual chaos of any ambitious startup, or something else? — You’ve been quoted as saying that,
there are no rules that apply, really, to building a business this way. One of the rules is, don’t buy
a shitload of your own product, and of course you’ve been
accused of doing exactly that for the purposes of seeming more successful. What would you say to that allegation? — There’s a lot of hand-to-hand combat
in the world of retail. We used to have lids falling off
and all sorts of QA/QC issues. They would buy some of the products
that had those issues, and in the process of doing that,
they might buy extra jars. — So, just to clarify that, what you’re saying is… if you send people in to buy the product, the supermarket thinks,
“We’re selling a lot of product,” and they wanna give you more shelf space. — You got it. — And how does that relate to the recent
departure of the board of Hampton Creek? — Not really connected. You know, the board, all of whom are still advisors to the company, and the one venture capitalist
continues to have a seat on the board. Not really connected— I think it was really a situation
where we step back and ask ourselves first, from a company’s perspective, does it make sense to carry on like we’re doing and, in some respects, we asked folks to leave, and others, they decided it was the right thing. — And again, from an outside perspective, it perhaps doesn’t look great, it doesn’t seem like a gesture
of faith in the company and its progress, that the entire board steps down. What do you think? — If you give me the choice between
100 percent chance of getting it sold for $1 billion, or a 20 percent chance of doing
something more extraordinary, we’re always going to choose that. The people that decided to do it with us get that, and many people have said, “That is not for me.” Good morning. — He’s right that other retailers, especially startups, have bought their own products too. We reached out to the board members
who recently departed. Only one, the former health and human services
secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, responded. She declined to comment, but sent a statement from the company
on behalf of the directors: Tetrick says that much of the recent turmoil was based in his trying to get control of his company so he could focus on the most ambitious plans, including the holy grail of lab-grown-food: meat and fish. Tetrick says that Hampton Creek has found
a way to feed animal cells with plant products. They brought us into their meat lab, but would only let us film in a small corner of it. — Globally, meat consumption is going up, not down. It’s going to be going up by 100 percent by 2060. So it sort-of begs the question, how does one solve that? — What you’re trying to do is basically
make chicken more efficient. It’s a really inefficient way
to get chicken onto the plate, to raise the chicken, feed it, kill it,
and then ship its parts to supermarkets. — Yeah, exactly. we’re only really using about half of the carcass, which means a lot of wasted energy, as well as a lot of the greenhouse
gas emissions that come with it. And so, all of that is avoided
by having a more efficient process that grows just the parts that we want. — How is it different from, you know, corn or whatever other meat alternatives you might be able to pick up on a supermarket shelf? — It’s meat, yeah. It’s not plant-based. It is 100 percent meat. — So within about a year we’re likely to see “Just Chicken,” “Just Kobe Beef”
or “Just Blue Fin Tuna” on a shelf? — It’ll certainly be an animal product. I don’t know if it’s going to be
one of those three specifically. I think more likely than not
it’ll be in the avian family. — Let’s look 10 years into the future. Do you wanna be bigger than General Mills, bigger than Kraft, or Nestlé? — I want us to be an extraordinarily large company. But at the end of the day, we can make plants that scramble in a pan
all day long, we can make meat from a cell, but if we do not get it on aisle seven
in the frozen section, the refrigerated section, if we don’t get it into the hands of
kids in West Africa… it’s all bullshit.

100 Replies to “Tech-Food Startup Hampton Creek Being Accused Of Buying Its Own Products (HBO)

  1. every single company does that for shelf placement. a friend in one of the retail giants said they actually hire spotters on some usually suspicious weeks (the couple of months before holiday etc), to curb companies from making their supermarket waste money and prime shelf real estate.

  2. lol…another pretense here. West african kids need to know how to make things for themselves, not always buying stuff from US and other parts of the world. Instead of getting stuff into their hands for which they have to pay anyway, you could sponsor education in Africa…that is help.

  3. Just found this video, and I would like to point out that not only is it no longer Hampton Creek, it's now Just Inc., but none of their products are available anymore. There is a story of this company trying to get more financing, but the products have all disappeared from the shelves and online. How about a follow up to this story?

  4. Honestly the idea of the company seems pretty good… I'm surprised it isn't popular enough on its own.

    As for buying your own product I don't see an issue with it as long as it is discoverable by investors. Otherwise you start getting into false advertising

  5. Milling anything down makes the plant almost useless for nutrition. These Liberal Vegan IDIOTS have no clue about food. Trying to make food from Science is a total joke, just eat what God has already provided for us MORONS.

  6. this comment section is as pretentious as the owner. as to be expected when the word "vegan" is mentioned.

  7. Kids in West Africa??? Lad, i was not born yesterday. He sounds, he looks and he has this weird vibe of a massive bullshitter. I don't trust this guy!

  8. Anyone know the story of how Spanx turned into a billion dollar company? Sarah Blakely pitched her product to one store and paid her friends to guy buy out the inventory and they were swindled into thinking it was a hot product. But it took off and worked for her

  9. There are a bunch of startup companies doing this exact thing, cultured meats. They are really small, nontextured, and expensive. That's why things like chicken nuggets and scrambled eggs are there but not chicken breast. It's really not close to being finished so it's really throwing your money at these companies and hoping one excells making meat replicates

  10. Meat consumption is up because there is more people to feed. You want to be a large company to make more money and no other reason, stop lying.

  11. Meat consumption is up because there is more people to feed. You want to be a large company to make more money and no other reason, stop lying.

  12. i just don't understand this, when it is about animal product grown in lab people excited about this idea, meanwhile much more people still afraid of the idea GMO (even MSG).

  13. I thought this story was about a company buying other products and selling them as their own. If they were just inflating their numbers, it has stopped and it wasn't say…an entire year's worth of revenue, it is not that big of a deal. The company seems to be doing some really interesting research and it would be cool if they produced more products. The CEO seems believable enough.

  14. Consuming all plant products takes exponentially more land and water. People that think they are doing the environment a favor with vegetarian or vegan lifestyles are both seriously mistaken and often malnourished as well.

  15. Most of these people and companies for vegan or vegetarian products are just a Ponzi scheme or scams

  16. Green gas emission is what plants eat to convert into oxygen all these people saying they trying to stop climate change will actually stop oxygen production aka kill all humans

  17. They do this in the music industry.
    They pay for plays on Radio. Gift free tickets for concerts, buy their own cd's and then give them back for free and so on…

  18. Alibaba did this, to encourage prospect customers to use their services.
    Now, Alibaba is a multi-billion dollars.

  19. Well, I don't see anything wrong in this, unless, either you have received funding or applying for IPO in stock market, because in these cases you're fooling naive investors in your trap.

  20. 00:21 why is he walking like that lol., at first i thought it was due to the incline but his girl is walking pretty normal..? Lol

  21. If subterfuge is behind this ambitious project, it would be consistent with the elitist enchantment of throwing money to what you perceive exists v/s what does exist..

  22. gee…..liberal lefty vegan gopfs caught being full of shit AGAIN?!? truly shocking! these people are of low carachter and have no morals or scruples. why would ANYONE want to emulate their lifestyle?

  23. If these fake food shit gos wrong and people start getting very sick and die

    remember Don't Blame Black People

  24. One of the main reasons as a new company to buy your own product, even if its dishonest, is to market this data to potential investors/businesses. When it's just simple data tweaking without fact, then it can look suspicious that you doctored the numbers to look good. While buying your product is still doctoring the data. It is doing so in a more solid way that can show growth, and potentially hold up to most investigations. Additionally when you buy your own product it is not usually with your own money, maybe even a business credit card. So in a sense it's the credit card company buying your product under your direction (ie purchase), then marketing to others, getting that money, using it to pay off these other purchases and to also make the actual product. This is only one idea but many many ways.

  25. Ad for company! Not an actual investigation. Vice has really fallen on hard times with journalism like this.

  26. This guy is saying they want to send that nonsense to "kids in west Africa". I wish you success so we can meet in the future. You disrespectful preak.

  27. Vegans will rationalize anything and everything to make their nutrient deficient diet plausible. They will even go so far as to say that vegan food tastes good, which we all know is offensively untrue.

  28. Am I the only one not understanding how you can efficiently just "grow" parts of an animal you need and it still be considered 100% meat? Seems weird. I love science but there are some things to scream "weird dystopian future stuff" to me. I don't think I'd ever buy a chicken breast that was "grown" in a lab and feel comfortable eating it. 10 years after inventing growing meat parts they'll make the inevitable discovery that it's cancerous or that you'll grow an ear on your forehead or something if you eat lab grown chicken parts.

  29. I don't see a problem with this when it helps them get on the shelves of big box stores. That means more people get a chance to try their products. Nothing wrong with that.

  30. All the comments mainly by mad vegans, liked by mad vegans and commented on by mad vegans, but if you were to look at all the chemicals in most supermarket vegan products you know where there madness comes on. their greens religion equates humans as just another animal no different to a rat or pig which is why they say we shouldn't eat them. So all these plant crops are much more sustainable than meat farming? really? they don't require land and water? what a load of SHIT. Even if mass produced meat has a lot of issues there is the choice to have organic grass fed beef, organic free range chicken etc…. peoples health is adversely effected by high sugar processed carbs not good quality animal proteins and a healthy diet is always made up of good quality animal protein and good quality vegetables and salads. Vegan products are shit.

  31. video ends with ceos commitment to provide  meat to kids at Africa    LMAO    whom ever believes this bullshit is a bullshitter

  32. this is why i dont trust the media. if you are a firm or startup protecting confidential info is crucial. grant vague or shallow interviews to keep the public satisfied and off your hook.

  33. Buy your own products to keep your #startup running, claim deductions on taxes, #stash ☕️🍵 money in a #nonprofit 🙏🏽– sounds like #moneylaundering to me

  34. it seems to me that hampton creek is doing the world a favour, but the food industry is finicky and shady so all the best to hampton creek

  35. The product is a brilliant idea and serves a laudable purpose but poor management and the enabling of such nefarious tactics is sabatoging potential success.

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