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January 3, 2021
A startup that believes its technology is integral in helping the cultured meat market mature has locked in seed funding. Matrix Meats (Columbus, Ohio) was born out of a partnership between Ikove Capital’s Startup Nursery and regenerative medicine company Nanofiber Solutions. It manufactures animal-free nanofiber scaffolds for cultured meat to be grown on.
December 23, 2020
Egg Innovations (Warsaw, Indiana), a Midwestern purveyor of free-range and pasture-raised eggs, has acquired snack brand Peckish (Sonoma, California). Born last year out of the Sonoma Brands incubator, Peckish packages hard-boiled eggs (supplied by Blue Sky Family Farms, Egg Innovations’ consumer-facing brand) with crispy dips for a high-protein snack with no added sugar.
September 16, 2020
Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund led a $20 million funding round for Virtual Kitchen (San Francisco, California), a startup that empowers restaurants to focus on delivery and minimize real estate costs. Founded in 2018 by two former Uber executives, Virtual Kitchen provides technology for restaurants to set up virtual or cloud kitchens that are optimized for delivery and don't have dining rooms or storefronts.
September 2, 2020
With the COVID-19 pandemic driving more U.S. food shoppers online, Barn2Door (Seattle, Washington) sees a big opportunity for farmers. The startup has raised $6 million for its e-commerce software that helps farmers sell food directly to consumers, with functions for managing sales, inventory and logistics.
August 19, 2020
What if people with food allergies carried a sensor that could detect the presence of allergens in their food? That’s the premise of Allergy Amulet (Lowell, Massachusetts), which announced a $3.3 million seed round led by Titletown Tech, a partnership between the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft.
August 3, 2020
Food safety and quality services company FoodChain ID (Fairfield, Iowa) expanded its portfolio with the purchase of Nutraveris (Ploufragan, France). Nutraveris is an AI-based software and services provider that helps supplement, pharmaceutical, personal care and ingredient manufacturers get their products approved and launched.
July 21, 2020
European investors Creandum and Highland Europe led a $15 million series A for Meditopia (Istanbul, Turkey, and Berlin, Germany), a meditation app built primarily for non-English-speaking markets. The startup works with mental health professionals in different regions of the world to develop mindfulness, meditation and music content that’s specific to different cultures, languages and countries.
July 7, 2020
Past NCN presenter Kitu Life (New York, New York), which operates the Super Coffee brand, has closed a $25 million financing round led by Skyview Capital. Founded by three brothers in a college dorm room, Super Coffee makes a lineup of ready-to-drink coffee beverages that contain up to 10 grams of protein and are sweetened with monk fruit. It also sells coffee creamer, coffee pods and espresso drinks.
June 23, 2020
Chocolate bar maker Honey Mama’s (Portland, Oregon), known for its innovative flavors, has completed a $5.8 million fundraise to boost sales, distribution and marketing beyond the natural channel. Founded in 2011, Honey Mama’s crafts truffle-like chocolate bars from raw honey, coconut oil, cocoa powder and other whole-food ingredients.
June 10, 2020
The husband and wife behind Shaka Tea (Hilo, Hawaii) have $2.3 million of fresh capital to help their company grow. Shaka Tea, a past NCN presenter, taps into Hawaii’s native mamaki plant to power its line of ready-to-drink iced teas, which are sweetened with monk fruit and free of calories, carbs, sugar and caffeine.
May 27, 2020
Chef-owned and -operated spice company Spiceology (Spokane, Washington) has raised $2 million from investors including media company Cowles Co. and Kickstart Funds III & IV. The capital will help Spiceology ramp up marketing efforts and weather the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, company leaders told a local news outlet.
May 13, 2020
Mr. Lee’s, a United Kingdom-based instant noodle brand that launched in the United States last month (Santa Monica, California), has raised £1.75 million ($2.2 million on May 4) on the equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs. That brings its total to £6.5 million ($8.1 million on May 4) raised so far in four rounds of fundraising on the platform.
April 14, 2020
On a mission to replace packaging materials that harm the environment, Vericool (Livermore, California) has raised $19.1 million from Radicle Impact Partners, The Ecosystem Integrity Fund, ID8 Investments and AiiM Partners. Vericool created an alternative to plastic foam coolers that’s made from recycled paper fibers and other plant-based materials.
April 2, 2020
The food tech company once known as Sustainable Bioproducts is now Nature’s Fynd (Chicago, Illinois), and it’s equipped with $80 million in fresh funding from investors. Grown out of NASA-supported research, Nature’s Fynd used a protein-rich microorganism discovered at Yellowstone National Park to develop a fermentation process that results in a sustainable, animal-free protein containing all nine essential amino acids.
March 24, 2020
PepsiCo (Harrison, New York) has added to its energy-drink portfolio by acquiring Rockstar Energy (Las Vegas, Nevada) in a $3.85 billion deal that’s expected to close in the first half of the year. PepsiCo has had a distribution deal with Rockstar since 2009. Its current energy drink lineup includes Mountain Dew-branded AMP, Kickstart and GameFuel.
March 2, 2020
Madhava Foods, a seller of natural sweetener products such as honey, agave and coconut sugar, has acquired organic candy company JJ’s Sweets. The deal between the two Boulder, Colorado-based companies is intended to boost distribution and sales growth for JJ’s and its line of organic, dairy-free coconut caramels called Cocomels.
Investors started 2020 doubling down on the plant- and cell-based protein revolution challenging the mainstream meat, seafood and dairy industries. In 2019, meat-alternative tech firms ranked among the largest deals in the NCN Transaction Database, with Impossible Foods closing a $300 million Series E for its plant-based substitutes and Beyond Meat’s IPO raising $241 million.
Manna Tree Partners was the anchor investor in a $12.7 million Series C funding round in food technology company Nutriati (Richmond, Virginia). Open Prairie, an existing investor through the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund, also participated. Nutriati uses proprietary processing technology to make protein, flour and oil ingredients from pulses like beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas.
Nutrition Capital Network (NCN) had to wait until the end of the year to enter 2019’s biggest deal into the NCN Transaction Database—a blockbuster merger between International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF) and DuPont Inc.’s nutrition and biosciences unit. IFF is merging with the $26.2 billion DuPont unit in a deal valuing the combined company at $45.4 billion.
Hundred (Berlin, Germany), a personalized vitamin subscription company, has announced an $8 million investment from Insight Partners. The direct-to-consumer supplement service creates a custom mix based on a five-minute consultation taking into account nutrition, movement, sleep and stress.
Mooala (Dallas, Texas), maker of organic dairy-free beverages, has completed an $8.3 million Series A equity financing led by Sweat Equities, bringing its total funding since launch to more than $13 million. Mooala is sold in over 2,500 stores nationwide including Whole Foods Market, Safeway, Kroger and Costco, and says it will increase its footprint to 3,500 stores by January.
Deals in the CBD wellness category again dominated natural products transactions, followed by healthy snacking in the food category. Opportunity in CBD wellness products motivated two sports nutrition deals in October, while Kraft Heinz took its first step into the quickly evolving cannabis space with a tech investment.
Flowhub (Denver, Colorado), a retail management platform for cannabis dispensaries, has raised an oversubscribed $23 million Series A financing led by the Kraft Heinz investment arm Evolv Ventures, e.ventures and Poseidon. Described as one of the largest Series A rounds in the cannabis tech industry, the investment will be used to position Flowhub as the software model of choice for cannabis retailers.
Post Holdings’ (St. Louis, Missouri) newly formed subsidiary BellRing Brands Inc. has launched a roadshow for its initial public offering of approximately 24 percent of its ownership. The IPO is expected to generate up to $570 million. BellRing will compete in the “global convenient nutrition category” and is a holding company for Post’s Active Nutrition business, notably the Premier Protein, Dymatize and PowerBar brands.
Organic ingredients and other nutritional attributes were the focus of investment and acquisitions in the baby food category in September. Chinese dairy giant Mengniu Dairy made a AU$1.5 billion (US$1 billion) cash offer for the Australian infant formula brand Bellamy’s Organic.
Celsius Holdings Inc. (Boca Raton, Florida), maker of the Celsius fitness drink, is acquiring nutritional products marketer Func Food Group Oyj (Helsinki, Finland) for approximately $15.1 million in cash and the assumption of $9.5 million of debt.
Healthier snacking remained a strong investment theme in August. High protein nutrition bars were the focus, with The Simply Good Foods Company bringing Quest Nutrition LLC under its umbrella for $1 billion in cash. Quest becomes stable mate to the iconic Atkins brand and is expected to generate about $345 million in net sales in calendar year 2019, 68 percent from bars.
U.S. shoppers are making more room in their baskets for plant-based foods, according to new SPINS retail data released by the Plant Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute. Sales of plant-based foods that directly replace animal products grew 11% to $4.5 billion in natural and conventional grocery channels in the year to April 21, 2019; since April 2017, sales have increased 31%.
AeroFarms (Newark, New Jersey) has raised a $100 million Series E led by the venture capital arm of Ingka Group, parent company of Ikea, according to Financial Times. The automated indoor farm will use the investment to expand warehouse space and grow more types of produce.
Gathered Foods, maker of the Good Catch (Newtown, Pennsylvania) brand of plant-based seafood products, has closed a $10 million convertible note round co-led by New Crop Capital and Stray Dog Capital, according to Forbes. Good Catch previously announced an $8.7 million Series A funding round in August 2018 led by New Crop Capital.
On the heels of Beyond Meat’s soaring IPO, which raised $241 million to expand its meat-alternative business, Impossible Foods followed with a $300 million Series E round to ramp up production. Temasek and Horizons Ventures led the financing, bringing the company’s total raised to $750 million.
Mondelēz made its first venture investment under its SnackFutures innovation and venture hub in March. The global snack and candy giant—owner of Oreo, Triscuit and Trident—made a minority investment in Uplift Food, a functional food start-up focused on the “mood-supportive benefits” of prebiotics.
Each year Nutrition Capital Network tracks and compiles M&A activity in the health & nutrition arena. Read more about how 2018 compared to years past and where the financing activity took place.
DSM and Phynova collaborate on blood glucose ingredient
DSM (Heerlen, Netherlands) and life science company Phynova (Oxford, United Kingdom) have signed a global distribution and collaboration agreement for Reducose, a patented natural ingredient for healthy blood glucose levels. Reducose is a water extract of
white mulberry leaves that can be added to food and beverages or taken as a small supplement to reduce the impact on the body of high-glycemic sugars and other carbohydrates.
Moringa company gets second investment from Kellogg
Kuli Kuli (Oakland, California), a pioneer of the superfood moringa, has closed a $5 million Series B financing led by global product development company Griffith Foods and Eighteen94 capital, Kellogg’s venture capital fund. Other investors included InvestEco, S2G Ventures, Authentic Ventures, VilCap Investments and Rocana Venture Partners. Kuli Kuli plans to launch a new moringa ingredient business while scaling up its moringa powder, bars and shots business.
This month's Nutrition Capital Network Deal Download shows a high number of transactions in pet food, alternative proteins and healthy foods.
NCN presenter update February was a big month for past NCN Presenting Companies, headlined by Manitoba Harvest being acquired by cannabis company Tilray Inc. from The Compass Group and other shareholders for up to CA$419 million (US$316.3 million on Feb. 20). Vertically integrated Manitoba Harvest sells hemp seeds, oil, granola, protein powder, and milk alternatives, generating CA$94 million (US$68.9 million on Jan. 2) in gross revenue in 2018.
Hormel Foods (Austin, Minnesota) is selling its CytoSport business, including Muscle Milk protein drinks, to PepsiCo for $465 million in cash. Hormel acquired CytoSport Holdings in 2014 from the Pickett family and TSG Consumer Partners for approximately $450 million to expand Hormel’s portfolio of protein-rich foods and serve as a growth catalyst for its Specialty Foods segment; CytoSport had annual sales of around $370 million at the time.
Unilever (London, United Kingdom and Rotterdam, Netherlands) has acquired Graze (London, United Kingdom), the United Kingdom’s largest healthy snack brand, from The Carlyle Group. The purchase price was not disclosed, but Sky News reported Graze was acquired for £150 million ($195.9 million on Feb. 5). Graze was founded in 2008 as a snack-box delivery service and sells bars, packaged nuts and seeds, dips and other snacks at retail and online.
Nutrition Capital Network reports 942 transactions in 2018
The NCN Transaction Database recorded a total of 942 transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry in 2018, up 3 percent for the year as deals slowed from blistering pace of the past four years. “Given the steep annual growth rates that averaged almost 40 percent annually from 2014 to 2017, it’s hardly surprising that the industry has not sustained that velocity,” said Grant Ferrier, managing director of Nutrition Capital Network (NCN). “But it’s still impressive that 2018 exceeded 2017’s record numbers.”
Laird Superfood (Sisters, Oregon) has secured $32 million in a private funding round that included WeWork, the shared workspace company. This round will support product development, acquisitions and headquarters expansion. Laird Superfood and WeWork will also launch a partnership to make Laird foods available to WeWork members and employees.
In December, Tivity Health Inc., a provider of fitness and health improvement programs and owner of the SilverSneakers brand, announced it was buying Nutrisystem Inc. for $1.3 billion in cash and stock. Nutrisystem sells portion-controlled meals and weight loss services, and owns the South Beach Diet and DNA BodyBlueprint brands.
Tivity Health Inc. (Nashville, Tennessee), a provider of health and fitness programs, is buying Nutrisystem Inc. (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania) for $1.3 billion in cash and stock. Tivity Health generated revenue of $453.3 million for the nine months ending Sept. 30, from
programs including SilverSneakers, Prime Fitness, WholeHealth Living and flip50. Nutrisystem owns Nutrisystem weight loss products and services, the South Beach Diet and DNA BodyBlueprint, generating revenue of $561.5 million for the nine-month period.
The Kraft Heinz Company (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is acquiring Primal Nutrition LLC (Oxnard, California), maker of Primal Kitchen branded products, for approximately $200 million. Expected to generate approximately $50 million in net sales this year, Primal Kitchen is a better-for-you brand of condiments,sauces, dressings and avocado oil, as well as protein powders and snack bars.
It’s been a busy year for initial public offerings, with global markets expected to number more than 200 in 2018 driven by biotech, tech and Chinese offerings, according to IPO expert Renaissance Capital. Outside of medicinal cannabis and internet food delivery, few companies associated with the nutrition and health & wellness industry have gone public this year, so November was unusual in seeing two IPO announcements added to the NCN Transaction Database.
Post Holdings Inc. (St. Louis, Missouri) has announced an initial public offering to establish its Active Nutrition division as a “pure-play, high growth companywith strategic flexibility to pursue strong organic and M&A opportunities.” Active nutrition houses ready-to-drink protein beverages, protein powders, nutrition bars and nutritional supplements under the Premier Protein, Dymatize, PowerBar, Supreme Protein and Joint Juice brands.
Glanbia PLC is buying SlimFast and certain supplement brands from Kainos Capital for $350 million, adding the iconic weight-loss brand to its Performance Nutrition division, which houses Optimum Nutrition, BSN, Isopure, Amazing Grass and the weight-loss snack thinkThin.
Publicly traded Flowers Foods Inc. (Thomasville, Georgia) is acquiring Canyon Bakehouse LLC (Johnstown, Colorado), a gluten-free baking company, forapproximately $205 million. Canyon Bakehouse offers 21 gluten-free breads, buns, bagels, English muffins and specialty items, and is expected to generate sales of approximately $70 million to $80 million in 2019.
Functional water, kombucha and coffee populated the beverage deals tracked by Nutrition Capital Network’s (NCN) Transaction Database in September. Keurig Dr Pepper agreed to acquire allied brand partner Core Nutrition LLC for $525 million...
April 3, 2018
Over the last year, large strategic and financial investors have invested richly in the dietary supplement industry. Private equity giant KKR acquired The Nature’s Bounty Co. in…