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Mondelēz to acquire Perfect Snacks
Mondelēz International (Deerfield, Illinois), owner of Oreo, Belvita and Cadbury, is acquiring a majority interest in Perfect Snacks (San Diego, California), maker of refrigerated organic nutrition bars. In 2018, Perfect Snacks generated approximately $70 million in net revenue with double-digit growth year-over-year. According to Mondelēz, the U.S. refrigerated snacks segment generates $20 billion in annual sales, of which around $7 billion is from well-being snacks like nutrition bars, yogurts and hummus. Refrigerated well-being snacks have grown at around 8 percent annually for the last three years, ahead of segment growth. Mondelēz will operate Perfect Snacks as a separate business run by its current senior leadership, who will retain a significant minority equity interest in the company.
Clean-tech company raises $10 million for bio-plastic packaging
Good Natured Products Inc. (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) has secured CA$13 million (US$9.8 million on June 11) from BDC Capital Inc. The first tranche of $5 million will be used for working capital and a later $5 million tranche for acquisitions. Good Natured makes packaging and consumer products using renewable, plant-based materials without BPAs, phthalates or harmful chemicals.
Zume launches sustainable packaging to replace plastics
Food industry analytics company Zume Inc. (Mountain View, California) has acquired Pivot Packaging (Chino, California) and concurrently announced the launch of Zume Source Packaging. The recyclable molded packaging is made from agricultural waste such as bagasse (sugarcane fiber), bamboo, straw and other organic fibers. It’s aimed at displacing plastic and pressed foam in fresh foods and food delivery. Zume entered the food packaging industry in 2016 with the compostable Zume Pizza Pod made from sugar cane, which it co-developed with Pivot.
Infarm raises $100 million Series B
Infarm (Berlin, Germany), a vertical farming tech startup, has raised $100 million in Series B funding. Atomico led the round. Infarm’s stackable hydroponic farms are designed for supermarket aisles, restaurant kitchens and distribution warehouses. Infarm installs sensors to track how plants are growing and remotely controls the performance of each module. According to Atomico, Infarm is in 25 major food retailers in continental Europe and has deployed nearly 300 farms in 150 stores.
Online grocer Ocado invests in vertical farming
British supermarket delivery company Ocado Group (Hatfield, United Kingdom) has announced equity investments in vertical farming totaling £17 million ($21.6 million). Ocado's venture arm signed up for a joint venture, named Infinite Acres, with 80 Acres Farms Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Priva Holding BV in Holland, Netherlands. Infinite Acres will focus on turnkey solutions for vertical farming. Concurrently, Ocado acquired a 58 percent stake in Jones Food Company (Scunthorpe, United Kingdom), one of Europe’s largest vertical farms. Ocado envisions co-locating vertical farms near its fulfillment centers so sustainably grown produce can be delivered within an hour of being picked.
Vestaron raises Series B for environmental friendly crop protection
Biopesticide developer Vestaron (Kalamazoo, Michigan) announced a $40 million Series B financing led by Novo Holdings. Vestaron has a proprietary platform for producing peptide-based bio-pesticides designed to replace harmful synthetic pesticides. “Vestaron is at the forefront of a revolutionary transition in crop protection, from an industry based predominantly on small molecule synthetics to one where biologic molecules with proven modes of action as well as great safety and environmental attributes will play a major role,” said Anna Rath, CEO at Vestaron.
MidOcean exits Freshpet investment
MidOcean Partners has exited its remaining investment in Freshpet Inc. (Seacaucus, New Jersey), a manufacturer of fresh, refrigerated food for dogs and cats. Freshpet distributes through proprietary Freshpet-branded refrigeration units installed in stores. MidOcean initially invested in 2010 after identifying Freshpet as a category changer and a successor to dry and canned products. Financial details were not disclosed, but Managing Director Jonathan Marlow said MidOcean was “thrilled with the outcome of its investment in Freshpet.” Freshpet reported fourth quarter 2018 net sales of $51.6 million, up 30% over the prior year period, and net income of $1.8 million. Freshpet was an NCN presenter in 2010.
Misfits’ Series A champions fruit and veg rejects to fight food waste
Misfits Market (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) has garnered a $16.5 million Series A financing round to grow its subscription business offering boxes of imperfect organic fruits and vegetables, Techcrunch reported. Greenoaks Capital led the round. Founded in 2018, Misfits sources misshapen produce directly from farms. After interviewing farmers in the northeast, Misfits CEO and founder Abhi Ramesh found that between 20% and 40% of farm produce goes to waste because it doesn’t meet the appearance required by grocery stores.
Investors fund Series A for at-home fertility testing
Modern Health Inc. (San Francisco, California) announced $15 million in Series A funding led by Forerunner Ventures and Kirsten Green, the venture firm's founding partner. Modern Health’s first product is a fertility hormone test for use at home rather than in a clinic. Funding will go toward developing additional reproductive health products and research to advance fertility science. "There is an incredible opportunity for Modern Fertility to be the beloved, trusted brand that women turn to throughout the course of their broader reproductive health experience,” said Green, who also joins Modern Fertility's board.
Chanel invests in green chemistry company
Evolved By Nature (Boston, Massachusetts), developer of a natural silk protein in liquid form, announced that Chanel (Paris, France) has invested in the green company. Activated Silk is derived from discarded silkworm cocoons and can be used to replace harsh chemicals used in fabric production. The companies will explore innovative material, mechanical and optical enhancements for different fabrics. Chanel’s investment reflects its growing interest in green technology. In 2018, Chanel invested in Finnish biodegradable material company Sulapac.
Sweetgreen acquires Galley Foods fresh meal delivery service
Sweetgreen (Los Angeles, California), a health-focused restaurant chain that serves fresh meals made from scratch, has acquired Galley Foods (Washington, D.C.) in a cash and stock deal. This is Sweetgreen’s first acquisition. Galley Foods is a fresh meal delivery service that will provide Sweetgreen with logistics technology, courier operations and high-volume production. Galley Foods’ chief executive will join Sweetgreen as vice president of logistics.
AUA acquires contract manufacturer TruFood
AUA Private Equity Partners LLC has acquired TruFood Manufacturing (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), a contract manufacturer of snack foods. TruFood makes nutrition bars, protein bars, chocolate products and granola. TruFood’s customer base consists of leading CPG companies, according to Kyce Chihi, managing director at AUA Private Equity, which will seek to grow TruFood through new product development, expanding customer relationships and productivity improvements.
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