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Publicly traded Flowers Foods Inc. (Thomasville, Georgia) is acquiring Canyon Bakehouse LLC (Johnstown, Colorado), a gluten-free baking company, for
approximately $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. Almost 90 percent of sales are distributed frozen through natural, specialty, grocery and mass retailers. Canyon Bakehouse has generated compound annual net sales growth of approximately 45 percent since 2014. According to IRI and SPINS data cited by Flowers Foods, the gluten-free packaged bread category has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6 percent per year since 2015, outperforming the broader $14.5 billion U.S. retail baked goods market. Flowers Foods is one the largest bakery companies in the United States with 2017 sales of $3.9 billion.
Kiss My Face Corp. (Gardiner, New York), a pioneer in the natural and organic personal care business, has been acquired by Aliph Brands which said it
would be seeking to invigorate the veteran brand through licensing partnerships. Kiss My face was founded by Bob Macleod and Steve Byckiewicz
over 35 years ago on a farm in New York’s Hudson River Valley to offer alternatives to conventional bath and body products. Today Kiss My Face has a
broad range of more than 100 cruelty-free products made without parabens, phthalates, or sodium lauryl sulfate, and featuring ingredients like olive oil, aloe, coconut and green tea. Kiss My Face is now carried in mainstream grocery stores like Loblaws, Publix, Kroger, Fred Meyer and Wegmans, in addition to
Whole Foods Market. “We have experienced significant interest and excitement from licensing partners to be a part of such a respected brand in the natural body care industry,” said Vincent Nesi, president of Aliph, a private equity and brand management group.
Geltor (San Leandro, California), a “bio-design” company that makes sustainably produced collagen, announced $18.2 million in Series A financing led by Cultivian Sandbox Ventures. Other investors in the round were Gelita, a global supplier of collagen proteins; ADM Ventures, the venture arm of Archer
Daniels Midland Company; Cavallo Ventures; and Box Group. According to Geltor, collagen found in most consumer products is sourced from livestock, raising ethical concerns and contributing to climate change. The company says its flagship consumer product N-Collage delivers superior cellular regeneration and is the first-ever 100 percent vegan collagen technology. This round takes the company’s funding to $23 million.
Two companies backed by Advent International are merging: Sovos Brands (Berkeley, California), a food and beverage company, and Noosa Yoghurt LLC
(Bellvue, Colorado). Sovos' mission is to acquire “premium, on-trend brands”; it currently owns Michael Angelo's premium frozen meals and Rao's Homemade pasta sauces. Noosa was co-founded in 2009 by an Australian expat and a Colorado dairy farmer to bring Australian-style yogurt to the United States. Over the past four years, Noosa has more than tripled sales and increased distribution from 5,000 stores to 25,000 nationwide, according to a news
release. Bill Johnson, chairman of the Noosa and Sovos boards, and former chairman, CEO and president of H.J. Heinz, said Sovos would guide Noosa into
its next phase of growth.
Vive Organic (Venice, California), a maker of cold-pressed wellness shots, closed a $7-million Series A funding round led by Powerplant Ventures. Also participating were Blueberry Ventures, Bill Moses (co-founder of KeVita) and Chris Hunter (CEO of Koia). Vive Organic was founded in December 2015,
closing a seed round in December 2016 and a bridge round a year later. "It's rare to have the opportunity to build an entirely new category. Vive Organic has that and has assembled an impressive team that will allow them to lead the category," said Mark Rampolla, co-founder and partner at Powerplant Ventures. The wellness shots come in four formulations: Immunity Boost, Coconut Probiotics, Wellness Rescue and Antioxidant Detox.
Sports nutrition company Honey Stinger (Steamboat Springs, Colorado) announced an investment from Factory LLC, giving it access to Factory’s innovation center to accelerate growth. Honey Stinger sells bars, chews, gels and waffles—all made with honey. The brand dates back to 1954 when Ralph and Luella Gamber developed the EN-R-G Bar as an alternative to candy bars. In 2002, EN-R-G Foods Inc. was re-established as Honey Stinger to provide honey-based energy foods. Factory LLC is a team of experienced consumer packaged goods operators who acquire equity stakes in high potential food, beverage and pet health companies.
The Kraft Heinz Company (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) has jumpstarted a new digital hub through the acquisition of Wellio, an AI food tech company based in San Francisco. Wellio will be part of Kraft Heinz’s Evolv group, which has a mission to create digital business models and launch entrepreneurial ideas. Wellio’s technology combines elements of a personal nutritionist, chef and shopper. “We wanted to take a holistic look at digital disruption and growth. This is part of a larger growth approach for Kraft Heinz and is in addition to our recently announced $100 million venture fund, Evolv Ventures,” said Nina Barton, president of Global Digital Online Growth for Kraft Heinz. The company has established tech and entrepreneurial teams in San Francisco and Chicago.
Clover Corporation Limited (Melbourne, Australia), an expert in microencapsulated omega-3 oils, has acquired a 35 percent stake in Melody Dairies (Hamilton, New Zealand). Investment will go towards financing a new nutritional spray-drying technology which will augment Clover’s capacity to manufacture microencapsulated powders for the pharmaceutical, infant formula and functional food markets. Melody Dairies has four partners: New Zealand Food Innovation Waikato, Dairy Nutraceuticals Investment Ltd., Landcorp Farming Ltd. and Nu-Mega Ingredients Ltd. which is a subsidiary of Clover.
Microencapsulation allows nutritional oils from fish, algae and fungi to be added to foods, beverages and infant formula.
Xponential Fitness (Irvine, California), owned by Anthony Geisler and Snapdragon Capital, announced the acquisition of Pure Barre (Denver, Colorado.). As part of the transaction, L Catterton, which invested in Pure Barre in 2015, will contribute its investment into the acquisition. Pure Barre joins six other Xponential Fitness brands: Club Pilates, CycleBar, StretchLab, Row House, AKT and Yoga Six. Founded in 2001, Pure Barre has grown into the largest barre franchise in the nation with more than 517 studios throughout the United States and Canada, according to L Catterton. The Pure Barre technique uses the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements with the goal of burning fat and creating lean physiques.
REBBL (Emeryville, California), a maker of organic herbal elixirs, announced an investment by Australian actor and activist Ruby Rose. REBBL’s functional beverages have a base of coconut milk and feature herbs like turmeric, reishi, schizandra and ashwagandha. Rose will also serve as an advisor to REBBL, a Certified B Corporation that donates 2.5 percent of net sales to Not For Sale to help end human trafficking. In May, Rebbl announced $20 million in funding led by Cavu Venture Partners.
Publicly traded Freedom Foods Group (Caringbah, Australia) reported that Australian Fresh Milk Holdings (AFMH), in which it has a 10 percent equity shareholding, agreed to purchase Coomboona Dairy in Northern Victoria. The acquisition will make AFMH the largest dairy producer in Australia, according to Freedom Foods, which plans to use Coomboona Dairy as a source for its Australia's Own Kid's Milk and other products. In August, Freedom Foods announced results for year ending June 2018 in which annual net sales increased 34.5 percent to Aus$353 million. The dairy giant is also Australia’s largest supplier of almond beverages under the Australia’s Own and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze brands. Earlier this year, Freedom launched Australia’s first pea protein milk, Like Milk, and agreed distribution and acquisition rights to Crankt Protein beverages and snack bars. The group also owns the Vitalife and UProtein brands of performance nutrition.
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Nutrition Capital Network is accepting applications for the remaining NCN Investor Meetings in 2018 from companies interested in presenting business plans to an audience of qualified investors. Interested investors are also invited to register to attend the events.
The NCN XXIII: Fall Investor Meeting will feature 20-25 nutrition and health & wellness companies presenting their business plans. The event is scheduled for Nov. 27-28 at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio, San Franciso, California.