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The New York Times reports that the increasingly controversial Hampton Creek currently is the subject of an investigation by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to the story, "The SEC inquiry is a response to a recent report from Bloomberg News that described an organized effort by Hampton Creek to buy large quantities of its Just Mayo product — a mayonnaise that uses a plant-based ingredient instead of eggs — by sending undercover contractors into stores ... Bloomberg’s report said the product buyback effort, which took place in 2014, made Just Mayo seem more popular than it was, not long before Hampton Creek raised $90 million from venture capitalists and other private investors. The basic details of the program were confirmed by a former Hampton Creek employee, who asked for anonymity because of confidentiality restrictions with his onetime employer."

The Times story goes on: "The inquiry puts a cloud over Hampton Creek, which has described itself as the fastest-growing food company in the world. It has promised to tackle the food industry with the gusto of a technology start-up, using some of the same big data tools to do so. One of its goals is to identify healthy, plant-based ingredients that can substitute for common foods like eggs, with less of a negative impact on the environment ... The inquiry may be only the start of tougher questions facing Hampton Creek. The company is believed to be losing significant amounts of money."

The company's CEO, Joshua Tetrick, has claimed that the buyback program was part of a quality control effort.
KC's View:
With a line that like, Tetrick clearly has a future if he ever decides to get out of the food manufacturing business.

Presidential politics.