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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. Primal Kitchen will join Kraft Heinz’s Springboard platform but will keep its
current leadership team and headquarters. Founded by author, athlete and paleo diet blogger Mark Sisson in 2015, Primal Kitchen’s products are free of dairy, gluten, grains and soy, and they emphasize high quality fats and proteins.
Publicly traded New Age Beverages Corporation (Denver, Colorado) is acquiring the network marketing and e-commerce company Morinda Holdings Inc.
(American Fork, Utah) for $85 million in cash and stock. Morinda had approximately $240 million in revenue in the trailing 12 months, over 90 percent of which was from Tahitian Noni-Juice. According to New Age Beverages, the merger creates a non-alcoholic beverage company with $300 million in net
revenue and $20 million in adjusted EBITDA. Founded in 1996, Morinda has more than 160,000 independent distributors worldwide and does more than 70 percent of its business in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and China. New Age Beverages was formed in mid-2016 as a healthy beverage company; brands include Búcha Live Kombucha, XingTea, Coco-Libre, Marley and recently launched CBD-infused beverages. In November, New Age Beverages announced closing a $52 million public offering intended for potential acquisitions.
Landec Corporation (Santa Clara, California), owner of Landec Natural Foods and Lifecore Biomedical, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Apio
Inc., has acquired Yucatan Foods LP (Los Angeles, California), a processor and marketer of Mexican guacamole made from 100 percent clean ingredients, for
approximately $80 million in cash and stock. Yucatan Foods is expected to generate annual revenues of between $55 million and $60 million and adjusted
EBITDA of $6 million to $8 million for the fiscal year ending May 26. The guacamole category in the U.S. is approximately $375 million at retail and growing around 20 percent, according to IRI data for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 7, cited by Landec. “Our internal research shows that 17 percent of U.S. consumers and 23 percent of Canadian consumers are considered ‘plant-forward’,” said Molly Hemmeter, president and CEO of Landec Corporation, meaning approximately 70 percent of their food consumption each day comes from plant-based ingredients.
Swander Pace Capital has acquired Nutritional Medicinals LLC (Functional Formularies, Centerville, Ohio) and its Liquid Hope and Nourish brands of shelf-stable feeding tube formulas made with organic, whole food ingredients. Functional Formularies was founded in 2006 by holistic health consultant Robin Gentry McGee after encountering a dearth of natural alternatives to traditional enteral nutrition for her ailing father. Products are offered to online retail customers and institutional customers in hospital and long-term-care settings. “Functional Formularies is the pioneer in this category… amid growing consumer awareness of food as medicine,” said Mark Poff, managing director at Swander Pace Capital.
Keyto (San Francisco, California), maker of a smart breath sensor that can detect when the body is in ketosis (a state in which it burns fats rather than sugars and carbohydrates) has closed a $2.5 million seed round. Craft Ventures led funding, with participation from Floodgate Fund, Abstract Ventures, Hydra Ventures and entrepreneurs. In addition to the metabolism-tracking sensor, Keyto also makes an app that provides personalized food and lifestyle recommendations. Traditional methods for detecting ketones include urine strips and blood tests.
Persona (Seattle, Washington), a personalized vitamin program, has closed a Series A1 financing led by Emil Capital and repeat investor L Catterton. Persona also announced a partnership with Silicon Valley Bank. Persona will use new funding to expand production and accelerate product development. The company has an estimated 40 new proprietary dietary supplements in the works, including a new turmeric plus omega-3 all-in-one supplement and a time-released sleep support program.
Yerbae (Scottsdale, Arizona), maker of a line of enhanced sparkling water made with yerba mate, has raised $5 million in a round led by Zenfinity
Capital, according to an article on Bevnet. Yerbae plans to grow its placement from about 2,500 retail stores in 2018 to more than 8,000 by the end of 2019.
Zenfinity CEO Kevin Easler, who is also a co-founder of Sprouts Farmers Market, will join co-founders Todd and Karrie Gibson on Yerbae’s board of directors,
Flavors and fragrances manufacturer Givaudan (Vernier, Switzerland) has launched the Mista Optimization Center (San Francisco, California) for innovation
in the food industry. The center will offer access to a product development facility, pasteurization and fermentation equipment, market development
expertise and input from culinary and food scientists. Founding members include Danone, Mars and Ingredion. “Mista” means tasty morsel in Sanskrit.
Office catering startup Chewse (San Francisco, California) announced raising $19 million in a Series C round including Foundry Group, 500 Startups and Gingerbread Capital. Chewse serves San Francisco and Los Angeles. This brings total funding to $33.9 million over eight rounds since being founded in 2011, according to CrunchBase.
InnovoPro (Rishpon, Israel), a developer of vegan proteins based on chickpeas, has raised $4.25 million backed by Swiss supermarket chain Migros, a Chinese foodtech fund, founder of Jerusalem Venture Partners and others, according to The Times of Israel. The firm’s prototypes include puddings, meat alternatives, chickpea-based snacks and vegan mayonnaise.
Synapse (Atlanta, Georgia), maker of a caffeine-free sparkling beverage for energy and cognitive improvement, completed a seed funding round worth $1 million, according to news reports. Launched in September, Synapse is marketed as a fast-acting supplement containing ingredients that help increase levels of acetylcholine, a brain neurotransmitter, the company said in a September news release.
Freeletics (Los Angeles, California), a digital fitness company, closed a $45 million Series A funding round led by FitLab, Causeway Media Partners and Jazz Venture Partners. Life coach Tony Robbins and others also participated. Freeletics was founded in 2013 and promotes physical fitness as well as mental strength, willpower and self-confidence. Its flagship app, Freeletics Fitness Coach, is the No. 1 fitness app in Europe, the company said.
ArchPoint Group has acquired Watusee Foods (Washington, D.C.), intending to apply its expertise in sourcing, sales, warehousing, branding and marketing to help grow the healthy snack food company. Watusee products, which are based on chickpeas, include an organic, gluten-free breadcrumb alternative called Chickpea Crumbs, and crispy and popped snacks called Chickpeatos. Watusee Foods was co-founded in 2013 by Jimmy Edgerton and Greg Katz. “We took our time looking for the right strategic partner, and ArchPoint was the clear favorite,” said Edgerton. Watusee was a presenting company at this year’s NCN XXII Spring Investor Meeting in New York. Everplus Capital announced an investment in Gloe Brands (Los Angeles, California), a beverage company with a line of organic, “plant-enhanced,” low sugar sparkling and non-sparkling waters with aloe vera as a key ingredient. Founders of Gloe Brands, Dino Sarti and Danny Stepper, are veterans of the beverage industry and the founders of L.A. Libations, a beverage incubator. The Series A-1 round was led by The Coca Cola Company, with Everplus Capital, Accel Foods, Synovous Family Asset Management and other investors participating. Gloe Brands was a presenting company at the NCN Spring 2017 Investor Meeting. The company presented at the NCN Spring 2017 Investor Meeting as L.A. Aloe (Aloe Gloe).
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Nutrition Capital Network is accepting applications for the 2019 NCN Investor Meetings from companies interested in presenting business plans to an audience of qualified investors. Interested investors are also invited to register to attend the events.