The popularity of the American television show “Shark Tank” does not appear to be lost on fast-moving consumer goods companies now seeking to emulate the program’s unique venture capital model.

PepsiCo and Nestle are two of the most recent converts to the Shark Tank way of auditioning new business concepts and financing them if they sound promising.

A three-time Emmy Award winner for “Outstanding Structured Reality Program,” Shark Tank has become a familiar sight at FMCG trade shows in the US where companies often display “As Seen on Shark Tank” signs on booths to promote themselves and their products.

This type of open innovation audition makes for compelling television, and occasionally produces breakthrough new product innovations like the Squatty Potty toilet stool (“for the best poop of your life”) and Scrub Daddy, a sponge in the shape of a smiling face that has sold over 10 million units since its Shark Tank debut.

Directly supporting emerging start-ups was once a non-starter at FMCG multinationals. But times have changed, partly because the pace of new product innovation is faster than ever and competition for the best ideas is keener than ever.

This new respect for open innovation is why Nestle USA is partnering with Rabobank and RocketSpace (a “top tech coworking accelerator”) to support startup companies for the Terra Food + Agtech Accelerator program. Nestle will collaborate with its partners to select and coach the most innovative and disruptive startups in the food and agriculture industry.

Nestle expects to support 20 startups over the duration of Terra’s two 6-month accelerator programs. The goal is to explore new and improved ways to produce, sell, and distribute foods. Registration for companies interested in participating opened on June 21st and the first of two Nestle-hosted Terra programs will be kick off in the fall of 2017.

PepsiCo is even further along in the venture capital game. Earlier this month, it announced eight European nutrition start-up companies as winners of its first Nutrition Greenhouse program which is open to companies with sales of €2 million or less. All eight companies will enjoy grants of €25,000 and the chance to work with business experts at PepsiCo for six months. At the end of the program, each company will receive an additional €100,000.

Frecious, Divingmar, Jimini’s, No Fairytales, and TAPPED are five of the eight winners in PepsiCo’s Nutrition Greenhouse program. TAPPED markets a birch water product – a potential heir-apparent to coconut water – while No Fairytales sells a pair of tortilla products that are made from vegetables like carrots and beets as a new way to boost vegetable consumption.

Innovators like the companies above have always been a part of the food industry and multinationals like Nestle and PepsiCo have often acquired the most successful of the lot once those companies reached a certain sales threshold. That patience seems to have worn off and multinationals seem more willing to get their hands dirty and get directly involved in smaller companies much earlier in the company gestation process.

The question for shareholders is will this pay off in the long run? Or is this sort of pursuit a waste of time and resources for companies that tally sales numbers in the billions?

The ranks of newcomers to the packaged food and drink industries have gone from a relative trickle just after the financial crisis in 2008 to a flood today. Barriers to entry are small; financing is about as cheap as it can ever get, and opportunities seem larger than ever as markets become more fragmented.

But the ranks of the tiny have not been tested and thinned out by market forces in some time, a natural process that seems to be on hiatus. As any gardener knows, many seeds are planted, but only the strongest plants are allowed to survive in order to maximize the harvest.

The next recession will likely “thin the herd,” but in the meantime this new focus on open innovation may be setting the stage for a future round of buyer’s remorse from FMCG companies that bought into concepts and companies that were not ready for prime time.